Isserman’s topic is the making of mountains in the American imagination. In the early years of the republic, for example, mountains were seen as an obstacle to progress. There are a number of brief biographies here, including those of John Muir, John Fremont, and Clarence King.

I also learned some fun facts from this book, such as that the second tallest mountain in the U.S. is also the second tallest mountain in Canada.

Related readings include The Naturalist, Beyond the Hundredth Meridian, and this biography of Gertrude Bell.