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on July 30, 2016
OK. To fully appreciate this accumulation of experiences and stories... you need to plan a trip to Southern Utah. ( Go during a "shoulder" season so you will not have too many crowds ). You really need to actually be there. To see the horizons and stirring landscapes. And you will need to let go of any preconceived attitudes about deserts - any requirements for 5-Star anything. Take this book along and read a few chapters each evening. And you will need to allow yourself enough time to just sit... listen.. and reflect. Visit Moab and the Arches N.P. and imagine how it once was not too long ago. Head off to Dead Horse Point and then down to the Needles area - both in Canyonlands N.P. If you can, camp for a night or two. Look for the La Sal Range on the eastern horizon. In this way, I think you will develop a better appreciation for Mr. Abbey's world. A couple of chapters might be considered a bit off point, but that's all part of the experience. So --- get the book, plan your adventure... and, if the Southwest is a new experience for you, I believe you will come back home with some remarkable impressions. All enhanced by "Desert Solitude".
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on April 13, 2013
I love Edward Abbey when he is writing about the desert and Arches National Monument. His descriptions are beautiful. I found the story about his exploration of Glen Canyon (before the dam) particularly poignant. He writes: "Once it was different there. I know, for I was one of the lucky few (there could have been thousands more) who saw Glen Canyon before it was drowned. In fact I saw only a part of it but enough to realize that here was an Eden, a portion of the earth's original paradise. To grasp the nature of the crime that was committed imagine the Taj Mahal or Chartres Cathedral buried in mud until only the spires remain visible. With this difference: those man-made celebrations of human aspiration could conceivably be reconstructed while Glen Canyon was a living thing, irreplaceable, which can never be recovered through any human agency... What follows is the record of a last voyage through a place we knew, even then, was doomed."

I can overlook all his ranting and raving about humans because (for me) they are overshadowed by his beautifully descriptive writing. There are a few disturbing scenes (his killing a rabbit, his mocking of a poor soul who got lost in the desert and died of exposure). He rants about cars being able to drive in the national parks (but he drives in the park) and population control in a particularly weird rant about the Navajo "problem" and the need for compulsory birth control.

If you love the desert and all it's stark beauty I would recommend this book. If Abbey's rantings about humans and his atheistic views bother you just skip over those parts.
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on September 19, 2016
The book has some interesting stories about the Utah Wilderness and I enjoyed learning about the area. I was not very fond of the authors style of writing however and often found myself having to re-read many sentences to understand all the jargon used in his descriptions.
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on May 9, 2013
Toward the beginning of this book, I became confused at what Abbey was trying to accomplish, and I worried I might not like the book. But, I kept on reading and it became really interesting and enjoyable. I am a true lover of the desert and Abbey really captured what he loved most about the desert.

For anyone undecided on whether to read this book, I will describe what you can expect. It is written during his first summer spent as a ranger at Arches National Park in Utah. He diverges from his immediate experiences to tell "side" stories or other experiences also related to the desert. Abbey expresses a keen love of the desert in its most natural state and bemoans the coming of cement roads and "motorhome people", whom he feels never get out of their vehicles to experience the true essence of the dessert. He may sound like a curmudgeon to some, but to me, he was expressing his heartfelt concerns about the destruction of the beloved natural habitat to bring in more and more of what he sees as unappreciative people. I don't feel he is any more hypocritical than any of us and I do not believe carving initials in a tree is going to kill it.

I absolutely loved curling up in bed at night and listening to Abbey's adventures. If you are a lover of the desert or of nature, give this book a try. I heartily recommend it!
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on February 27, 2015
not going to bore you with the review. Just thought Id share with everyone that after reading this book, ive become so inspired that I am travelling from East Coast US to Zion National Park in Utah to spend a few days backpacking on my own to get back in touch with nature and myself.

Thanks Mr Abbey, truly inspiring.
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on May 13, 2017
What a great book about Arches National Park. Abbey tells a fascinating story about life in the desert. I want to go back after reading this... before it gets developed.
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on September 17, 2014
great book for people who can identify with the author's views. the author was right on on his fear and predictions of the future of the wilderness in se utah. the couple things that bothered me was that he said he would take a man's life before he would take an animal's life, and shortly after that he did an experiment and killed a rabbit with a rock just to see if he could. poor rabbit. he talked about human over population and its destruction of environment, and in real life he has at least 5 kids and a dozen more descendants. For nature lovers and human over population haters, this is the book to read. i like his views on cultures vs civilization, which was spot on. cultures are parasites and there is not much good in them. overall i like the book and can identified with him, with the exceptions of rabbit and his contribution to human over population..
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on August 1, 2016
I bought this book to have my own copy after reading a friend's. It is one I wanted to have on my book shelf. Some may not like the way in which Abbey speaks about certain subjects, but I find them all spot on. It was an interesting way of looking at things and opens your mind a little bit more, as all reading/education does. That's not to say you have to take his thoughts as the only way to look at things, because that's exactly what they are - his thoughts! Feel free to have some of your own.
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on November 30, 2015
What can I say about Desert Solitaire? Is is a guidebook? An essay? Maybe a cluster of stories? Hiking manual? Perhaps it is all of these things and more. If you don't want Politically Incorrect reading, pass this one by. I, on the other hand loved everything about it. His hatred of changes to the Arches wilderness flows from cover to cover. Not liking change when he was a young man, one has to wonder what he would have to say about that part of Utah today. God bless him for writing this book. I highly recommend it. Wish it was reading for every student in schools across America.
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on May 14, 2014
I've been returning to this book for almost 20 years. It has inspired travel and adventure and getting lost in the wilderness. In all that time I never finished the book. Until today. As I neared the end I felt like Abbey, and wanted to turn around. Too late. Moderate extremism though, right? I didn't need to go another 20 not finishing it. Abbey's beautiful prose will keep me coming back for a lifetime, even if I know the end. Pick it up, read it, but wait a decade or two to finish it. That keeps the wanderlust fresh.
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