Joshua Wheeler at Garden District Book Shop

Garden District Book Shop presents Joshua Wheeler at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 19, at their storefront (2727 Prytania Street).

Early on July 16, 1945, Joshua Wheeler’s great-grandfather awoke to a flash, and then a long rumble: the world’s first atomic blast filled the horizon north of his ranch in Alamogordo, New Mexico. Out on the range, the cattle had been bleached white by the fallout.

Acid West, Wheeler’s stunning debut collection of essays, is full of these mutated cows: vestiges of the Old West that have been transformed, suddenly and irrevocably, by innovation.