Jacqueline Ogburn's Reviews > One Square Inch of Silence: One Man's Search for Natural Silence in a Noisy World

One Square Inch of Silence by Gordon Hempton
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's review
Feb 06, 2010

it was amazing
bookshelves: nonfiction
Read from February 01 to 05, 2010

I had heard Gordon Hempton on NPR, talking about his work recording natural sound, especially his trip around the world, recording the songs of birds at daybreak.

This book is about his quest to preserve "One Square Inch of Silence" of a place where the only sounds are natural ones. He has a place in a National Park in Washington state. Even that place is intruded upon by the noise of planes flying over, at least one an hour.

It is full of wonderful descriptions of places, and made me think about sound in a different way. He points out that hearing is a sense that is always "on" -- we can close our eyes, but not our ears.

I don't think I have even been conscious of being in a place without machine sounds. He has amazing descriptions of the natural soundscape of a valley, as an overall "hum" of the sounds and the way they move within the landscape.


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