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Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness Mass Market Paperback – January 12, 1985
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This makes a good companion volume to Sand County Almanac. Both excellent writers with a sense of humor, incredibly knowledgeable about nature and conservation, and a sharp edge.Published 5 days ago by J. Arnold
This is a fine read, and one I enjoyed immensely, and I feel so much richer for having read it. I feel like Abbey has woven a new tapestry in my mind.Published 14 days ago by c dom
One of the very best books I've ever read. A classic and an all time favorite.Published 15 days ago by Hecklermtbr
It's a good book, my problem is it came with a huge sticker on the cover, that covered half the book. I managed to clean it off, but the spine got ripped in the process.Published 25 days ago by Amazon Customer
Excellent book. Awesome description yet easy to read. Makes you want to be there. It's worth your time. I promise.Published 27 days ago
Even though this is an old book, it is timeless in its relevance. Get out there and enjoy our wild places before they become theme parks disguised as national parks. Read morePublished 28 days ago by J. J. Clarke
Alright, it's a classic. But, as I had kind of picked up from others who have written about him, Abbey was kind of filled with himself. Read morePublished 1 month ago by rlamazon
Edward Abbey writes beautifully about the Southwestern desert, and his love for it really comes through. Read morePublished 1 month ago by txqueen