Cover image for A reporter at large : dateline--Pyramid Lake, Nevada
A reporter at large : dateline--Pyramid Lake, Nevada
Liebling, A. J. (Abbott Joseph), 1904-1963.
Publication Information:
Reno : University of Nevada Press, [2000]

Physical Description:
xxx, 139 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations, maps ; 22 cm
General Note:
"Originally published in The New Yorker (1, 8, 15, 22 January 1955) as The lake of the Cui-ui eaters"--T.p. verso.
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E99.P2 L53 2000 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

On Order



In 1949, renowned journalist A. J. Liebling came to Reno to obtain a divorce, which required that he establish residency in Nevada for a period of six weeks. Liebling stayed at a guest ranch on the shores of Pyramid Lake. While there, his reporter's curiosity was engaged by a bitter dispute raging between the Paiutes and non-Indian squatters who were claiming the most agriculturally productive lands of the reservation and the waters feeding the lake that was the economic and spiritual heart of the Paiutes' ancient culture.

Liebling recorded the litigation over the fate of the Pyramid Lake Reservation lands in a series of articles published in The New Yorker in 1955. Reprinted here in their entirety, the essays discuss the affair in detail, following it from the shores of the lake to the halls of Congress, and introducing readers to the colorful world of 1950s Nevada. This is a valuable record of one of Nevada's most enduring and significant debates over the uses of the land and the precious water that nourishes it. Introduction by Elmer R. Rusco.

Author Notes

A. J. Liebling (1904-1963) was a journalist whose biographer proposed ""may well have been the greatest reporter of his time."" He wrote widely on many subjects, including politics, boxing, and World War II, and much of his work remains in print even many years after his death.

Elmer R. Rusco is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of Nevada, Reno. In 1998, he was honored by the Reno/Sparks chapter of the NAACP with a Lifetime Achievement Award for African American History.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

In 1949, Liebling traveled to Reno, Nevada, to take up residence for the six-week period required to get a divorce and ended up writing a series of articles about Pyramid Lake, north of Reno, and the Paiutes, who inhabit that region. At the time, the Paiutes were engaged in a struggle with white squatters over their land, a struggle that Liebling called "the longest-running Indian war in United States history." Liebling's colorful accounts of Nevada life among the Paiutes, the white settlers, and the peripatetic outsiders who mostly came for gambling and divorces are collected from articles published in The New Yorker in 1955. Liebling is poetic in describing the beauty of the land, insightful in recalling the assortment of local characters, and acerbic in recounting the conflict over the Indian land and the political machinations of local politicians to accommodate commercial interests. The collection shows the wit, research, and detail for which Liebling is well known. --Vanessa Bush

Library Journal Review

Liebling, a familiar figure in the world of American letters, was a respected World War II reporter and New Yorker essayist. One series of articles he wrote, forming the core of this collection, arose when he went to Reno to get a divorce. Liebling stayed on a tourist ranch at Pyramid Lake, and it was there that he became acquainted with the Paiute Indians and their claims against the government. He wrote a series on their efforts, which centered on their primary problem: they had no control over the waters of the Truckee River, the area's only permanent water supply. Liebling presents a clear and vivid account of both the Paiutes' struggle against squatters on their reservation and the divorce culture of the day. Martha Knack's As Long as the River Shall Run (Univ. of Nevada, 1999) is the primary text on the Paiute, but this title would be a welcome addition to collections where interest in the Paiutes and water rights issues is strong, or where there is interest in Liebling himself.--Charles V. Cowling, Drake Memorial Lib., Brockport, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.