Looking For Humboldt: & Searching For German Footprints in New Mexico and Beyond


As a German-American explores the colorful landscape of the American Southwest, its adventure-rich past, and the roles played by Humboldt and a handful of German participants and immigrant soldiers come alive. 

Early on, Spanish and English methods collide. With exquisite detail and stark honesty, Erika Schelby expertly weaves a story of culture, conflict, and belonging in this beautiful narrative. To gain insight, layers of history are pulled back and scrupulously examined. 

Looking for Humboldt is focused on the Southwest but finds the connections to a larger world in good Humboldtian fashion, with brief cameo appearances by persons ranging from Thomas Jefferson, Frederick the Great, and Napoleon to Adalbert von Chamisso, Eugene Debs and Al Sieber, Chief of Scouts during the Apache Wars. Even geopolitical strategists like Mackinder and Mahan present their case. 

From ancient events to the present day, from the tectonic plates below to the desert above, Schelby’srendition of the region’s diverse histories is unlike any other. It also provides a timely contribution to the 100-year anniversary of the 1917 American entry into the First World War.