Raymond Starr, Book Review Editor
Empires in the Sun: The Rise of the New American West.
By Peter Wiley and Robert Gottlieb. Paperback Edition. Tucson: University of Arizona Press. 1985. Map. Bibliography. Index. 332 Pages. $19.95.
Empires in the Sun is a provocative book by two journalists and syndicated columnists which was first published in 1982. In it the authors try to understand the contemporary American West (and, indeed, the United States) by focusing on several topics. They look at an historical overview from 1933 to 1980; six major centers of power-San Francisco and Los Angeles, Denver, Salt Lake City, Phoenix and Las Vegas and a description of major groups and conflicts within the region. The most significant point they make is the overpowering role of the federal government-its land, resources, contracts-in the development of the west. The book is a controversial contribution to the growing literature on the “Sunbelt” region.