About seven years ago, I was on a snowy highway heading toward Wyoming with all my worldly possession packed in around me. All I knew about the state is what I had seen in television and at the movie theaters.

Being that I am a reader, there was no question that my first purchase in Wyoming, after food, would be a small stack of books on Wyoming history.

After seven years of collecting, here are my top five suggestion for great Wyoming history reading.

While mostly a geology book, it reads like a novel. It starts with the beginning of the planet and ends in present time. The readers will follow the author and a famous geologist he befriended and traveled with around the state.

Updated since it was first published in 1972, the book includes companion materials. The author was not concerned with the old stories of fast guns and Indians. His focus was on the men, women, and events that have shaped the state’s history since 1865, when the name "Wyoming" was first applied to the area.

Much like the picture books of American towns and countries, this book is a photo journal of the entire state's history with short paragraphs summaries of the photo. The images are the oldest and most famous collected from around the state.

This book was sponsored by a grant from the National Science Foundation to the Denver Museum of Natural History. It explains the history of what has and is happening under your feet. It contains merging paleontology, geology, and artistry. The book contains illustrated scenes from the distant past and details on the flora and fauna of the past 300 million years.

Back in the early 1980s, this writer flew from New York City to find out about the great West he heard about his entire life. He purchased a cheap, rusty old van and traveled the Dakotas, Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, and Colorado. He slept in the van wherever he could find what seemed to be a safe back road to park it. He learned the history of the great planes by meeting the people and writing about it. Frazier has an amazing way with words. The entire book is a smooth flowing read that follows the geology and history of every people and many animals across the Great Plains.

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