This is a wonderful book for anybody interested in the history of the American West. The book contains short vignettes of what the author calls "firsthand history", i.e., contemporaneously written letters, journals, newspaper articles, etc. all the way from Cortez' conquest of the Aztecs through modern day Silicon Valley. Along the way, you learn that Levi Strauss did not invent Levi's (he sold the fabric to the man who did; the inventor couldn't afford the $65 for the patent filing fee and Levi Strauss got in the deal that way), and lots of other interesting points of history on the American West. They're all authentic and all contemporaraneous with the subject about which they're written. A great read!