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Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness MP3 CD – Audiobook, MP3 Audio, Unabridged


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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

With language as colorful as a Canyonlands sunset and a perspective as pointed as a prickly pear, Cactus Ed captures the heat, mystery, and surprising bounty of desert life. Desert Solitaire is a meditation on the stark landscapes of the red-rock West, a passionate vote for wilderness, and a howling lament for the commercialization of the American outback. --This text refers to the Mass Market Paperback edition.

Review

"Like a ride on a bucking bronco . . . rough, tough, combative. The author is a rebel and an eloquent loner. His is a passionately felt, deeply poetic book . . . set down in a lean, racing prose, in a close-knit style of power and beauty." ---The New York Times Book Review
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Product Details

  • MP3 CD
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio; MP3 - Unabridged CD edition (December 19, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1452655766
  • ISBN-13: 978-1452655765
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.6 x 7.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (311 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,379,488 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Edward Abbey was born in Home, Pennsylvania, in 1927. He was educated at the University of New Mexico and the University of Edinburgh. He died at his home in Oracle, Arizona, in 1989.

Customer Reviews

Desert Solitaire ranks among Edward Abbey's best works.
D. Kyle
This book offends many due to its strong views (name one person that made a difference about something they were ambivalent over).
Thom Blair
Abbey describes desert scenery of great natural beauty and wonder.
IRA Ross

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

158 of 169 people found the following review helpful By Robert Moore HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on November 15, 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Edward Abbey's DESERT SOLITAIRE belongs on the shortest of several short lists of 20th century classics, whether we are talking of classic literature of the American West, nature writing, or environmentalism.
Why is this such a brilliant book? It isn't the originality of ideas. Other writers-Aldo Leopold, Wallace Stegner, Bernard DeVoto, Mary Austin-had already articulated many of Abbey's central ideas either about nature or about Western policy. Bernard DeVoto was an innovator; Abbey is not. Nor is Abbey's anger and fury at exploiters and defilers unique: DeVoto was just as irate and just as incapable of pulling his punches. Nor is it Abbey's overall vision that makes his book so compelling. Again, both DeVoto and Stegner-and especially DeVoto-evidenced a broader and more systematic understanding of the broader issues confronting the West. None of this is accidental. DeVoto exerted a major influence on Stegner, and Stegner taught Abbey in the Stanford University Creative Writing Program.
What makes DESERT SOLITAIRE so marvelous is the almost tactile love and passion Abbey displays for the Desert Southwest. Over and over Abbey summons up specific places, particular mountains, individual landscapes. Although he can write about the desert in general, he more frequently writes about particular spots in Arches National Park and the surrounding environs that help explain his attachment to the West. He is the literary equivalent, in his more somber, reflective moments, of Eliot Porter and Ansel Adams. As a result, what one recalls upon remembering DESERT SOLITAIRE is not words so much as a collection of images.
Structurally, the book only resembles a memoir of his time working as a park ranger in the Arches National Park.
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63 of 66 people found the following review helpful By mrgrieves08 on August 10, 2000
Format: Paperback
Edward Abbey didn't like to be known as a nature writer (he was far too proud of his fiction), but after reading this book I would have to say he is among the best. Before I read this book, I had never even considered traveling to the Southwest, this book changed that, and the way I look at nature forever. Abbey has rightfully been called the Thoreau of the American West, this book more than any other shows us why. In Desert Solitaire Abbey is at his best, doing for the Southwest what Thoreau did for Concord and Walden.
One of the great strenghts of this book is the way Abbey weaves together such a wide array of subject matter, which illustrates the seemingly endless variety of experience, in what is thought by many to be an inhospitable wasteland. In a collection of breif chapters Abbey touches on everthing from the incredible beauty of forgotton canyons, the Southwest's past inhabitants, a feral horse, the Colorado river, the perils of industrial tourism, and the story of a man who may have came to die at the edge of a cliff.
In this book you get a great sampling of everything Abbey has to offer, from his stinging wit and dark humor, rage and sadness concerning the destruction of nature, and finally to hope. Edward Abbey has accomplished on the printed page, what Ansel Adams' photography has done for the Southwest. And yes, both immortalize a time and a place that are being destroyed forever, little by little, day by day, but leaving for us a sad and yet wonderful record of what used to be, and why what is left is worth saving. Desert Solitaire is both a celebration and a lamentation for the disappearing landscapes, and hidden canyons that Abbey chose as his own paradise, and if you read this book it may become yours too. Like Abbey's says get out of your cars and crawl in the sand, and EXPERIENCE what nature has to offer, you might just be surprised at what you find.
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87 of 96 people found the following review helpful By Wyote VINE VOICE on October 3, 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
"I would rather kill a man than a snake," wrote Edward Abbey, and I suspect he even meant it. That sentence summed up, for me, this book: it is filled with Abbey's love of the wild desert and its inhabitants and his contempt for modernity and its inhabitants. I think Abbey was one of the early voices in modern environmentalism, and this is a classic book in that field. I appreciate his desert and his writing; even if you are not an environmentalist nor a lover of the desert, you may see why people are if you read this. At any rate, his deep naturalist reflections deserve consideration in our fast-food, internet, climate-controlled, sanitized and artificial age.
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61 of 68 people found the following review helpful By J. Carroll VINE VOICE on June 28, 2006
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Edward Abbey is a contradiction. A poet when describing the wonders of the desert and the joys of solitude; then he becomes a strident critic of his fellow man if they have the audacity to disagree with him. There is a definite will and intelligence driving the prose, but it is partially spoiled by the rants that Abbey goes on. The book has a split personality; celebrating the wilderness, but using a voice that often becomes so disagreeable that you might want to take asphalt to the park yourself. Finally though the poet wins out and you go along for the ride. I try to think of this book as rafting down the river, enjoying the wonders and trying to avoid the jagged rocks. A little white water is fine; just don't hold me underwater for hours at a time.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Daphne on July 6, 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
To begin, I loved parts of _Desert Solataire_. Abbey seemed to be warbling between humility, confusion, and utter, unabashed egotism. This is charming, because it is honest, and one can't fault someone for being honest. Also, the man actually did something about his frustration, which is more than can be said for the lot of us.
Moreover, there were sections of the book that shocked me with their incredible, heartbreaking beauty and insight. For example, the chapter "The Moon-Eyed Horse": the writing in that chapter is utterly original and amazing in the complexity it demonstrates regarding both the narrator and the nature of the horse's character - and what it reveals and changes about Abbey.

Abbey is at his best when he gets out of the way and describes how he sees nature, rather than his own mind. Abbey says at one point that when a person goes into the wilderness he or she is at risk of either seeing merely his or her self in it, or just the opposite, seeing nothing but an opposite image of oneself.
This made me wonder about Abbey's exact philosophical position on his own place in nature; furthermore, the passage - in the chapter entitled "Episodes and Visions" - in which Abbey attempts to wax philosophical about civilization and culture was completely lost on me. Maybe it's because I've read too much Heidegger to think that Abbey really understands Heidegger, or maybe it's because I am confused.
I am confused because it seems as if Abbey upholds civilization as superior to culture, and yet does he not admire the American Indian tribal culture that he encounters in the park? How does he even define "culture"? If the U.K. and the United States are merely examples of cultures, then is civilization merely the mark of individuals that Abbey likes?
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