- Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Ballantine Books (1971)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0345326490
- ISBN-13: 978-0345326492
- Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.9 x 6.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 621 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #76,526 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness Mass Market Paperback – January 12, 1985
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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.
From the Publisher
The year before I began working at Random House, I took a roadtrip with a friend from college. One night we spent sleeping under the stars on the side of the road, about one-hundred feet from the edge of the Grand Canyon. That night has stayed present for me. And so when I saw the deep desert reds and the striking blue sky of the cover of DESERT SOLITAIRE sitting in the office, I had no choice but to pick it up. Riding through the insides of Manhattan, tunneling through to work, I have been carrying this book with me. I keep closing my eyes and hearing the wolf call, the swish of the wind through the brush and seeing the great vast distances, feeling the heat of the day on my skin and the dry cool descent of desert night. In reading this book I am coming to a whole new understanding of the ecology of the desert west. Edward Abbey went alone to the desert as a seeker of a greater knowledge of himself, but also to dwell in a nature unfiltered, unpersonified, on its own terms. The desert is bigger than any of us, filled with intimate moments. This book will take you there.
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I am a huge annotator of books, and love to highlight and mark comments next to passages in all my books that I want to return to. The whole book is like that for me. Every sentence shows the rare, sublime mystery of shadows, lights, passing moments of a living and breathing planet that accepts and watches all who travel through, inviting them to delve into the secrets and profound truths that only the wilderness can teach us. Now more than ever, we need to remember why America is so unutterably fragile, beautiful and worth protecting.
Abbey uses this book as a platform not only to make observations about the geography, fauna and flora of Utah, but as a place to vent his spleen at the destruction of the natural world, and the dehumanizing nature of our society. The book is also filled with humor, pathos, and great sensitivity. His prose is elastic, conversational at some points, poetic and profound at others.
Desert Solitaire is a master piece of non-fiction. Abbey moves from topic to topic with ease. Each piece stands alone, but they are interconnected. In a relatively short amount of space, he writes strongly and convincingly about a host of topics. For this skill, we can forgive him his obvious misanthropy. He hates everyone.