From Publishers Weekly
To escape the shackles of cell phones, watches, computers and other such technological ubiquities, Atlanta Journal-Constitution columnist Bookman flees to where the "simplicity of the river is so reassuring." In an annual pilgrimage, he and a group friends head to Oregons Deschutes River to raft, fish and breathe fresh air. Bookman describes yearning for a simpler journey-a more basic, albeit riskier, search for balance amid modern lifes frenetic pace and its invisible, irrevocable bonds to technologies of growth and consumption. "Because we were originally molded by a world of scarcity," he writes, "we arent genetically prepared for a world of plenty." However, as Bookman and friends master-or almost master-icy rapids, endure scorching desert days and generally josh around, their need for modern lifes refreshment becomes evident. The author muses lucidly on the fate of community in the face of the Web, cell networks and television satellites. Some of Bookmans examples of machines unrelenting grasp are downright scary, such as the ongoing experiments in living a "cyborg" life, in which "electrodes attached directly into peoples skulls allow them to operate a computer through mind control." Ultimately, Bookman, like others before him, contends that this artificial intelligence spells a spiraling doom. "The modern predicament reminds me of those Chinese finger traps, the paper toys that grip you tighter the more you struggle to escape," he writes. "The harder we fight for a sense of personal security and identity, insinuating new technologies into every aspect of our lives,...the less secure we actually feel."
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About the Author
Jay Bookman, an editor and columnist for The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, has twice been recognized as the nation's outstanding editorial writer, and his work on environmental issues has been honored by the Wilderness Society and the National Wildlife Federation. He has received the Aldo Leopold Award, the National Headliner Award, and the Scripps Howard Award.