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Vanishing America: In Pursuit of Our Elusive Landscapes Hardcover – September 28, 2007

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Counterpoint; 1ST edition (September 28, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1593761287
  • ISBN-13: 978-1593761288
  • Product Dimensions: 1.1 x 5.3 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,598,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

In these perceptive essays, Conaway (The Far Side of Eden) shows how development and tourism are laying waste to America's natural and cultural landscapes. Entertaining as well as astute, the pieces revolve around his impressions of exceptional places he considers physical and spiritual barometers of the country's health, including the Boise River in Idaho (overused and polluted), Napa Valley in California (disfigured by gigantic wineries and McMansions) and national parks (considered saleable products by elected officials and adversely affected by too many tourists, toilets, buses, concessionaires and paved highways). On Western communal lands that should be preserved by the Bureau of Land Management, such as New Mexico's Bisti Badlands and Wyoming's Big Piney, energy exploration and extraction, grazing and all-terrain vehicles are taking their toll. On the grounds of Washington, D.C.'s National Cathedral, development needs have resulted in new buildings, accommodations for tour buses and a huge gymnasium, so that an institution supposedly dedicated to saving souls has been turned into an engine of tourism, development, and controversy. Conaway argues persuasively that these irreplaceable landscapes stand for the real America, but because we are sacrificing them to material concerns, we're losing our culture along with the very ground upon which America was built. (Oct.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

More About the Author

James (Jim) Conaway grew up in Memphis but lived in Europe for several years before moving to Washington, D.C. A former Wallace Stegner fellow at Stanford University, he's the author of three novels including, most recently, Nose, set in northern California, which the Wall Street Journal reviewer said "offers a burst of hearty comic notes and finishes with a lingering penumbra of bittersweet nostalgia," and Kirkus reviewer that "the cheerful complexity of Conaway's novel rivals the richest, most nose-worthy, palate-pleasing Cabernet."
Jim's also the author of nine books of non-fiction, the most recent being "Vanishing America: In Pursuit of Our Elusive Landscapes", described by writer Tracy Kidder as "an enthralling, lovely tribute to a lot of what is precious in America." His previous book, "The Far Side of Eden", was a Washington Post Best Book of the Year in 2002 and a sequel to his best-selling "Napa: The Story of an American Eden", described in the New York Times Book Review as "an important story, emblematic of our time."
His other books include the memoir, "Memphis Afternoons", and "The Kingdom in the Country", a personal journey in a van through the public lands of the American West and described by Stegner as "a very lively book... He got into places and activities that most westerners never even get close to." Author Jim Harrison called it "a wonderful, well-considered evocation of the New West."
Jim's first novel, "The Big Easy", is based on his experiences as a police reporter in New Orleans; his second novel, "World's End", is a Louisiana coastal saga ofr politics and crime described as "a combination of All the King's Men" and "The Godfather."
Jim has written for many magazines, including The New York Times Magazine, Atlantic, Harper's, The New Republic, Gourmet, Smithsonian, and National Geographic Traveler. He divides his time between piedmont Virginia and Washington
Photo at right by Peter Menzel:

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By C. Davis on February 13, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a fascinating though shameful account of how much we take for granted in the scope and variety of U.S. geography - and how much of it is disappearing forever. Get out there and see all the great and unique places before they are desecrated or destroyed altogether.
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By Carolyn Martini on April 4, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A nostalgic tour reminding us that no matter where you live, times are changing, and the pressure of population, commerce and conflicting interests is the only constant. Conaway is a very good journalist.
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