Innovators of the American West Book List

Over the past year and a half, I’ve interviewed dozens of innovators who are shaping the future of the American West—writers and ranchers, athletes and artists, conservationists and entrepreneurs, to name a few. While their vocations and backgrounds vary widely, they’re all connected by a shared love of books. All of my guests read widely and deeply, and they credit books with shaping their outlooks, work, and lives.

On each episode’s webpage, the exhaustive “episode notes” link to all books, authors, and other pertinent information discussed in the interview. So in an effort to consolidate all of this valuable information in one easy-to-access location, I compiled every book mentioned by each of my guests into this single comprehensive super-mega-list—the Innovators of the American West Book List. I’ve tried my best to organize them into logical categories, taking into account that many of the books span several genres.

As you’ll see, the books are as diverse as the guests, with topics ranging from the obvious western history and biographies, to more esoteric subjects such as military history, religion, and philosophy. Each book has played an important role in at least one of my guests’ fascinating lives, so it’s safe to say these books have been vetted and come highly recommended. rrr curious readers who love the American West, this list is a treasure trove.

I will continue to update this list after each new episode (last update: 1-5-18), adding newly mentioned books or authors to their respective categories. I hope this list directs you to some books that you would not have otherwise discovered and that you will continue to check back as the list grows. Enjoy!

Western History

Biographies & Memoirs

Western Issues


Native American History

Land Management & Agriculture

General History & Natural History


Personal Development


Philosophy & Essays

Specifically Mentioned Authors

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3 Comments on “Innovators of the American West Book List

  1. Wonderful list! I might suggest one more that they use in many Kansas literature classes in our colleges – “The Last Cattle Drive” by Robert Day. It is an amazing piece of fictional literature that is so very true to the land, people, geography, and the time period. It is simply my favorite piece of literature with Kansas as a focal point. I truly believe you will love it. I first read it 30 years and and have read it many times since.

    • Thank you Steve! I was not familiar with “The Last Cattle Drive,” but now I am and it looks excellent. I’ve added it to my “to-read” list, which is absolutely ridiculously long! Here’s the link for anyone else who may be interested:

  2. Do you or can you compile a list of the suggested documentaries from all of your guests? Thanks!

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