Getting the download link through email is temporarily not available. Please check back later.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
The Secret Knowledge of Water : Discovering the Essence of the American Desert Paperback – May 1, 2001
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
The travels that Childs recounts in this vivid narrative take him from places sometimes parched, sometimes swimming, from the depths of the Grand Canyon to the dry limestone tanks of the lava-strewn Sonoran Desert. As he travels, Childs gives a close reading of the desert landscape ("the moral," he writes at one point, "is that if you know the land and its maps, you might live"), observing the rocks, plants, animals, and people that call it home. Some of his adventures will remind readers of Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire--save that Childs writes without Abbey's bluster, and with a measured lyricism that well suits the achingly lovely back canyons and cactus forests of the Southwest. By turns travelogue, ecological treatise, and meditative essay, Childs's book will speak to anyone who has spent time under desert skies, wondering when the next drop of rain might fall. --Gregory McNamee --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Until I read Craig Childs' essay, I never gave much thought to water in the desert except that without it you die. Childs paints a vivid picture of the juxtaposition of desert and water in all of its manifestations. I can still picture the pools of water in the tinajas of the barren, sun-baked Cabeza Prieta and the thunderstorm-fed floods on the Arizona Strip. I can feel the terror he must have felt squatting on a ledge in a feeder canyon of the Grand Canyon as flood waters rose and swirled around him and his relief as they receded, leaving behind tons of debris. I can also feel his awe at the power and majesty of nature at the same time. I can feel his exhilaration as he bathes in a deep, cool waterpocket after a long day's hike. And I can sense his deep respect for the original peoples of the desert and how they have adapted to its caprice.
It is obvious from his style that Childs has an abiding love for the desert. If you know and love the desert, you will find The Secret Knowledge of Water a fascinating read and come away with new respect for the desert and for the waters which both nurture and shape it.
The book is divided into three sections: still water, streams, and flood. We discover that if one knows how to search for it - and the first inhabitants of these areas did know - there is water to be found in plentiful supply. Likewise, there are spring-fed streams that flow during certain seasons, and in and along both kinds of water there is a host of different life forms, plants and animals, each place representing a specific and evolving ecosystem. Childs' eye and ear for detail and his scientific knowledge join to create vivid accounts of the discoveries he makes as he explores. We learn, for instance, how pools of rainwater in the desert wastes become populated with forms of aquatic life and how these survive, even through long periods of extreme drought.
For me, a particularly harrowing adventure was his exploration of a system of caves from which a stream of ice-cold water emerges high on a canyon wall near the Grand Canyon. Others include his pursuit of floods in the making in this same system of canyons following summer cloudbursts, and he underscores the perilousness of his curiosity by describing the deaths of other hikers and campers taken by surprise by flash floods.Read more ›
This book is written in the holy prose of a prophet, one who knows. Childs is a natural writer who has gone to the desert and become a part of it. He cracks the door and lets the land bear witness for itself. It is incredible writing, better than I have ever known.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Craig Childs has a deep interest in water in the American Southwest. In this book he examines where one might find water in the deserts, and shares his knowledge of flooding in... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Dingo
A fascinating and gripping read on the tenacity and moveable force of water throughout Arizona. Childs has close-encounters with flash floods throughout numerous essays in the... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
As an armchair adventurer with a lifelong interest in the Southwest for its geology and pre-Columbian cultural history, Childs provides an exciting expedition to places I can never... Read morePublished 6 months ago by sinclair
Intense, Craig Childs has you from the very beginning. Thank you for this great work of Desert Art.Published 9 months ago by k shenberg