In 1792, John Evans, a twenty-two-year-old farmhand from Snowdonia, Wales, travelled to America to discover whether there was, as widely believed, a Welsh-speaking Native American tribe – The Madogwys - still walking the Great Plains.
During the course of an extraordinary adventure, Evans wrestled the largest river reptiles ever seen in the Mississippi, hunted bison with the Omaha tribe, defected to the Spanish in St.Louis, annexed North Dakota from the British, and created the map that guided Lewis and Clark on their legendary expedition.
In the summer of 2012, Gruff Rhys – himself a distant relative of Evans – retraced the explorer’s route through the heart of the continent by means of an ‘Investigative Concert Tour TM’ – a series of solo gigs accompanied by little more than an acoustic guitar, a PowerPoint presentation and a three-foot high felt avatar of John Evans.
Brilliantly documenting both men’s odysseys, AMERICAN INTERIOR explores how wild fantasies interact with hard history, and how myth-making can inspire humans to partake in crazy, vain pursuits of glory, including exploration, war and the creative arts.
Gruff Rhys's travelogue American Interior is one of 11 stellar debuts longlisted for this year's Guardian first book award 2014.
American Interior the book, available in hardback and eBook (Penguin), is one part of a pioneering multi-platform project with a global reach set to hit UK bookshops on 8 May 2014. The project also consists of a film (ie ie Productions), a solo album from Gruff (Turnstile) and an App (Penguin). They are also set for release in May 2014.
A joyous and poignant celebration of the mythical and the real
A charming and entertainingly written book
The most comprehensive study yet of this strange historical figure
Written in an exuberant, entertaining style, American Interior is alive to the quixotic nature of Evans's quest, while offering a sideways look at the nexus between history and myth
A story about gullibility, contradiction, ambition, inexplicable wanderlust . . . this brilliantly life-affirming book highlights a world of wonder far beyond orthodox history