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One Square Inch of Silence: One Man's Quest to Preserve Quiet Paperback – March 2, 2010
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In the competition between those who seek noise to drown their soul and those who seek quiet to bring peace, those who make noise will always win. Because when a person makes noise they dominate the region they are in, making so everyone has to accept their hobbies or be judged intolerant.
So, the premise is great. Only, there's so much of the authors at every point that I feel like they're the noisy neighbors who show up at a camp and proceed to talk about how much they love quiet, regale you with stories of where they've been, and otherwise fill the quiet with their constant chatter. They love the quiet but fill it up with their own noise--oblivious to self while decrying others.
This is definitely more about "the one man's search" than the natural silence, making it more of a "road" story than an exploration of the quiet places to find. The quest for quiet becomes its own noise, in a way, an over-intentional awareness that can't seem to find peace.
Don't get me wrong, it's an interesting and well-written book. I don't disagree with the positive reviews here, just was myself too aware of their constant imposition that I kept wanting to hear more, see more, about the nature they were in.
His ongoing fight, focuses primarily on airplane overflight of the park, although he looks at other noise intrusions not only in national parks, but in other areas, cities, suburbs, and elsewhere. The book is a travelogue of his cross-country trip to Washington DC to plead his case to help protect OSI to the FAA and other government agencies. Along the way, he meets people affected by the encroachment of man-made noise into their lives, gathering their stories.
Early on, some of Hempton's remarks make him sound somewhat like a luddite crackpot, discussions of why park managements doesn't use horses instead of power tools and motorized vehicles to do park maintenance and so on. However, Hempton is no luddite, in fact, one might almost find some of his activities hypocritical, driving a noisy (by his own admission) VW microbus crosscountry and making frequent air flights mid-trip. He is not looking to eliminate all air traffic, just those over National Parks and other 'unspoiled' areas. One may make the argument that he is guilty of a NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) attitude, and I'm not sure that isn't entirely true. For me, one event that soured me on his crusade is when, while making a nature recording, it is ruined by a distant train.Read more ›
I have a feeling that this niche topic will not appeal to most readers. I have a feeling that most folks do not even notice this constant assault (or cannot "afford" to notice it). If you think you are interested in the topic, be forewarned that the text is a fairly lengthy (extremely focused) study and the author is a bit of a curmudgeon (unapologetically so). Nonetheless, it is accessible to lay-people and tends to read very easily (translation: it is not jargon-laden! Thank goodness!) It is (infinitely) passionate (even though you may occasionally find yourself skimming the text). And, it is well worth your time!
Invest in this text if you enjoy environmental studies, exploring nature, or are simply captivated by the (unusual) topic.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I heard about this book on NPR--very thought provoking and a great read.Published 15 months ago by Sheri Hoffman
In a over stimulated culture, silence is under rated, glad to know we are not the only ones that believe this!Published 15 months ago by AmazonGroupie
Fascinating. You'll learn so much about sound, your hearing and ears that we take for granted.Published 18 months ago by Patrick George
Mr. Hempton makes this subject interesting. I was concerned before I ordered the book that it might be a bit bland. Not so!Published 18 months ago by William McDonald
I love the basic theme of this book, the importance of both quiet and silence, but I found the approach narrow and unimaginative, and overly directed at the areas which are already... Read morePublished 20 months ago by Green Stone
An important and enjoyable read. Hempton's book serves as a big reminder about an earth that was once known but has since been subject to a barrage of human industry. Read morePublished on November 5, 2013 by M. Lees
i enjoyed a library copy of this one so bought a copy as a for my brother my to enjoyedPublished on August 21, 2013 by matt cowick