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The Sound of Mountain Water

4.03  ·  Rating Details ·  157 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
A book of timeless importance about the American West, our "native home of hope."

The essays, memoirs, letters, and speeches in this volume were written over a period of twenty-five years, a time in which the West witnessed rapid changes to its cultural and natural heritage, and Wallace Stegner emerged as an important conservationist and novelist. This collection is divided
Paperback, 288 pages
Published November 1st 1997 by Penguin Books (first published 1969)
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Paul Garns
Nov 09, 2015 Paul Garns rated it really liked it
If you live west of Denver and haven't read Wallace Stegner, you're not living right. The essays collected here are a bit less accessible than some of his other stuff, but this one's worth the slog. My favorites were the essays on Havasupai Canyon and touring the Mojave Desert. It's a hymn to the West. Give it a whirl.
Jun 26, 2016 Ginger rated it really liked it
Even if you know little, nothing or a great deal about the West, you should read this. Stegner's dedication to writing about the environment, people, and our place... our roll in it is thoughtful and speculative. The first half of his book, (stories, essays, memoirs and thoughts over the twenty-five year period, approximately 1946 to 1969 about the settling of the dry West—everything west of the 100th meridian in America) is dedicated to water, landscape and the environment of change upon it. ...more
Oct 05, 2014 Tracy rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Stegner fans
A collection of old essays written starting in the 1940's. I enjoyed them. I love Stegner's writing, especially when he's writing about places I know.

My two favorites were "The Rediscovery of America: 1946. It is about a road trip from Salt Lake, down to Lake Mead, Deep Springs school, Death Valley and back. The other one I liked was "At Home in the Fields of the Lord", a tribute to hometowns; and Salt Lake City, in particular, as Stegner's hometown.

I liked these quotes:

"Any place deeply lived
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I enjoyed the first 169 pages of this book. I won't be reading beyond that. From page 170 on, the pieces are better suited to a college course on writers of the American West. I'm not fond of reading writers writing about the writing of other writers. The one exception being book introductions, which are often helpful.

I really liked the pieces I did read because I have been to or near most of the places he wrote about: Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Glen Canyon, southern Utah, Mojave Desert. It wa
Liz VanDerwerken
Apr 07, 2015 Liz VanDerwerken rated it it was amazing
Stegner's "Crossing to Safety" is one of my very favorite books, and until recently I was not aware that Stegner also had this collection of non-fiction essays about the West! I began reading this just after a trip to Moab—Arches and Canyonlands—and his writing evokes these places in the very best ways, making history come alive as he touches on early expeditions as well as his own contemporary forays, which are now decades-old. I was so fascinated to read about Havasupai in the days before it ...more
Apr 04, 2008 Mehrsa rated it did not like it
This book really annoyed me and is the reason I am not a Stegnar fan. It's a compilation of essays by Stegnar about the Western man. I think it's arrogant and condescending. In one essay, he talks about how no one wants to hear about the Western man and how he (no doubt referring to himself) is screwed because he is too good and doesn't have the paranoia, disease, and narcissism that most of the "freak" writers have--like the blacks and homosexuals, etc. I don't think he meant anything racist or ...more
Jun 13, 2013 John rated it really liked it
This was a great book to take camping in the Wasatch Mountains. Listening to Big Cottonwood Creek take a bite out of the canyons while reading about Stegner's journeys in similar landscapes was like connecting with an old friend. I even enjoyed his semi-cranky fusty criticisms of hippies in the last third of the essays.
Apr 18, 2014 Kathy rated it really liked it
Shelves: haveread
An interesting combination of thoughts about the West and thoughts about authors and books. This is a collection of essays. Several of which describe trips in the Western states in the 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s. Relaxing to read. Most of all, I am inspired now to seek out and read more books by Wallace Stegner, of which there are several, fortunately.
May 14, 2010 Heather rated it really liked it
this book of essays has been my companion on all of this year's land trips and (almost) daily walks and hikes. i never tired of stegner's observant environmental history, beauty, culture. the sunset this evening that accompanied this completion was and felt truly vibrant. there could have been no better partner.
Nov 16, 2008 Milo rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: michelle mccall
Stegner has earned the title of Dean of Western Writing and rightly so, at least in the realm of essay. His greatest commercial successes have been with his novels [Angle, Crossing to Safety, etc]. For those of us who live in the west and love it, Mountain Water shows us is a great writer's words why we do so. By far his best book of essays and is highly recommended.
Jan 22, 2015 Judy rated it really liked it
Stegner is one of my favorite authors. These essays cover 25 years of reflections on the uniqueness of the western enigma and the evolution of his writing craft. (Stegner published from 1937-1992 and died in 1993.)
Jun 30, 2014 Julia rated it really liked it
A wonderful collection of essays. I was surprised to find myself enjoying the essays in the second half - which was more about writing and historiography - even more than those in the first, which were not bad at all. Highly recommended.
Jun 01, 2010 Emilydodge rated it liked it
loved the first half, not so much the second. I enjoy reading about stegner's personal experiences, and about places in the west. for some reason the second half in which he talks about writing about the west did not interest me as I hoped it would.
Dec 31, 2011 Rosa rated it liked it
More series than his Collected Stories, but I love Stegner's passion for the environment and for the American West as it was.
May 26, 2014 Catherine rated it really liked it
Stegner doesn't disappoint in this collection of essays written a number of years ago. In "Coda" he eloquently defends wilderness and public lands.
Tattered Cover Book Store
This book was recomended by author William deBuys as part of the Rocky Mountain Land Library's "A Reading List For the President Elect: A Western Primer for the Next Administration."
Bud Evans
Oct 19, 2008 Bud Evans rated it liked it
Collection of essays. Wonderful essay on Glen Canyon and another on the importance of wilderness. If you like Stegner you'll like this.
Nate Steed
Jan 28, 2008 Nate Steed rated it really liked it
A book of Stegner's essays on environmentalism and conservatism. Some reads are better than others, but it's a good book to take on a camping trip and read in the forest.
Nov 27, 2007 Gay rated it really liked it
Shelves: lit
Great book to read to English classes. Lots of philosophical discussion erupts. Not too mention how to describe a simple crossroads.
Jul 20, 2013 Renah rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Love his writing, love his insight on topics of as much importance now as they were when the essays were written. Stegner is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.
Dad Wieja
Dad Wieja rated it really liked it
Jun 01, 2009
David Malone
David Malone rated it it was amazing
Feb 28, 2012
Jeffrey rated it liked it
Mar 14, 2007
Jenne rated it really liked it
Jan 15, 2008
Aneira rated it it was ok
Dec 16, 2015
Chris rated it it was amazing
Sep 10, 2012
John Watson
John Watson rated it liked it
Dec 18, 2009
Riko Stan
Riko Stan rated it it was amazing
Oct 18, 2012
Kaye Chatterton
Kaye Chatterton rated it really liked it
Aug 17, 2014
John rated it liked it
Jul 11, 2016
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Wallace Earle Stegner was an American historian, novelist, short story writer, and environmentalist. Some call him "The Dean of Western Writers." He won the Pulitzer Prize in 1972 and the U.S. National Book Award in 1977.
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“Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed ... We simply need that wild country available to us, even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in.” 206 likes
“One cannot be pessimistic about the West. This is the native home of hope. When it fully learns that cooperation, not rugged individualism, is the quality that most characterizes and preserves it, then it will have achieved itself and outlived its origins. Then it has a chance to create a society to match its scenery.” 28 likes
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