The Quixotic Journey of John Evans, His Search for A Lost Tribe and How, Fuelled by Fantasy and (possibly) Booze, He Accidentally Annexed A Third of North America, Or, Footnotes: A Fantastical Musical Quest in Search of the Remains of Don Juan EvansBook - 2014
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.
'A joyous and poignant celebration of the mythical and the real.' Caught by the River
'A charming and entertainingly written book.' The Independant
'The most comprehensive study yet of this strange historical figure.' Sunday Express
'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.' Financial Times
'A story about gullibility, contradiction, ambition, inexplicable wanderlust . . . this brilliantly life-affirming book highlights a world of wonder far beyond orthodox history.' The Guardian