Francaviglia, Richard V., Believing in Place: A Spiritual Geography of the Great Basin

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Francaviglia, Richard V., Believing in Place: A Spiritual Geography of the Great Basin. Reno: University of Nevada Press, 2003.

The austere landscape of the Great Basin has inspired diverse responses from the people who have moved through or settled in it. Author Richard V. Francaviglia is interested in the connection between environment and spirituality in the Great Basin. Here, he says, "faith and landscape conspire to resurrect old myths and create new ones." As a geographer, Francaviglia knows that place means more than physical space. Human perceptions and interpretations are what give place its meaning. In Believing in Place, he examines the varying human perceptions of and relationships with the Great Basin landscape, from the region's Native American groups to contemporary tourists and politicians, to determine the spiritual issues that have shaped our connections with this place. In doing so, he considers the creation and flood myths of several cultures, the impact of the Judeo-Christian tradition and individualism, Native American animism and shamanist traditions, the Mormon landscape, the spiritual dimensions of gambling, the religious foundations of Cold War ideology, stories of UFOs and alien presence, and the convergence of science and spirituality. (Text adapted by University of Nevada Press review.)