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Horizon

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4.20  ·  Rating details ·  323 ratings  ·  81 reviews
From the National Book Award-winning author of the now-classic Arctic Dreams, a vivid, poetic, capacious work that recollects the travels around the world and the encounters--human, animal, and natural--that have shaped an extraordinary life.

Taking us nearly from pole to pole--from modern megacities to some of the most remote regions on the earth--and across de
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Hardcover, 592 pages
Published March 19th 2019 by Knopf Publishing Group
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Average rating 4.20  · 
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 ·  323 ratings  ·  81 reviews


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Tony
May 22, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-nature
Let me start at the end. Or the bottom. Antarctica, to be precise. I learned or re-learned that there is no longitude at the South Pole, that its lone coordinate is 90° South. From there, every direction is north. It's also where all the Earth's 24 time zones converge.* Which I had fun thinking about. Did you know that it never really snows at the South Pole? And that glacial ice fizzes and pops as it melts? Antarctica is also probably the only place on earth where you can get an unadulterated s ...more
·Karen·
An incorrigible Romantic, our Baz.

"I had a theology professor once," I said to John, "who told us that religion was not about being certain but about living with uncertainty. It was about being comfortable with doubt, and maintaining the continuity of one's reverence for a profound mystery."

So this is Mr. Lopez finding awe and wonder in nature and elevating his feelings to something that validates his existence.

The urge to make an exclusive claim runs deep in a culture like mine, where/>"I
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Keith Taylor
Apr 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Barry Lopez has written several good books, and I think he has written three great ones -- "Of Wolves and Men," "Arctic Dreams," and now "Horizon." He is now in his seventies, and has been forthcoming about being ill. This book does have a sense of urgency, that he needed to get things down while there was still time, although it is a very Barry Lopez kind of urgency -- careful, thoughtful, planned.

On one easy level, it is a travel book. Lopez has been to lots of places that are difficult to ge
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Dax
May 20, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read a negative review that called this book overly self-serious. Fair, but this is Lopez's culminating work after decades of travel and study. He's a philosopher, a naturalist and a searcher. Oh, and he's a hell of a writer. This is not as beautiful of a work as 'Arctic Dreams', but it is a wonderful capstone to an impressive career. If you're new to Lopez, read Dreams first, but this is excellent.
Adam
May 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
As I get toward the end of this I'm realizing that it's less a review and more a rambling personal reflection, so I'll add this comment at the top for those of you who are just trying to decide if you want to read it. If you're a Lopez devotee, it's an obvious must-read, a rich and fascinating coda to an incredible life and career. But it would make a strange and I think not ideal introduction to his work, so if you haven't, go read Arctic Dreams or Light Action in the Caribbean first.

Barry Lop
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Trin
Mar 25, 2019 rated it it was ok
Not at all to my personal taste. It should be: I am fascinated with the Antarctic and love unusual travel narratives. Lopez is beloved and seems like a thoughtful, even wise person. But my god, he is so self-serious; this book is so self-serious, and ponderous, and dull. There were some stunning moments, but the distance between them in this 500+ page repetitive slog felt as insurmountable as the lengths of Scott's final journey.

Excuse me: I am just going outside and may be some time.
⋟Kimari⋞
You might also enjoy:

Arctic Dreams
Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters
Atlas of a Lost World: Travels in Ice Age America
The Animal Dialogues: Uncommon Encounters in the Wild
Science in the Soul: Selected Writings of a Passionate Rationalist
The Library of Ice: Readings from a Cold Climate
The Meaning of Ice: People and Sea Ice in Three Arctic Communities
This Cold Heaven: Seven Seasons in Greenland

Arctic Explorers
Arctic Dreams
Farthest North
The Ice Master
Prisoners of the North
In the Land of White Death
True/>Arctic
...more
Liam Heneghan
Mar 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is a tremendous book. Lopez in a pensive, troubled, self critical, or perhaps better phrased, a self-questioning mood. What is it to travel? What does the traveller learn, take away, or importantly what does he or she take along with them. I can't recall a book in recent years that I've been this immersed in.
Cody
A deep dive into...well...everything that illuminates the interconnectedness of culture, the environment, and the cosmos and, along the way, showcases a writer's life replete with travel, thought, and the of pursuit of beauty and meaning.
Carolyn McBride
Mar 05, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was a carefully written book that was very engaging. It read smoothly and was a little like slipping into a warm literary bath. It is also disturbing at times, but always thought-provoking. Its exactly the right thing if you want what you read to change you and the way you think.
Scott Martin
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Most thoughtful book I’ve read in at least a decade.
Cheryl
Aug 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“I fell into conversation with a local man about this feeling that so many visitors have of attaining here a state of transcendent peace. Concerning the modern significance of these islands, he had this reflection: “La tierra puede transformar el alma y lamente, y corazón de todos los hermanos.” (“ It’s possible for this place to shift your soul, to ameliorate the pain of modern existence, to elevate the heart of everyone who visits here.”)”

“My goal was to experience the world intens
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Arthur
May 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
No review for this--at least, not yet. This book overwhelms and courteously invites you to consider your own humanity, the wildness of the earth, and possibility of hopelessness and hope. It raises a deeply serious question about our "survivability" because of the deepening loss of community, compassion and empathy. It doesn't leave me hopeless, but I feel on the edge of hopelessness. Is it too late?

"What we say we know for sure changes every day, but no one can miss now the alarm in the air. O
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Sydney Doidge
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: memoirs, non-fiction, 2019
I was so torn between 4 and 5 stars because I loved this book but also had significant complaints. So I’ll start with those - first, that some of the language he used seemed sexist but in a subtle way, which is always so frustrating especially when you can’t quite put a finger on it; and second, he seemed so certain that a solution would arise if we just listened to elders, which were vaguely defined stereotypes of wise native men. I don’t disagree that we need to listen to more native voices, i ...more
Falbs
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book reminded me of why I have always wanted to write a book at some point in my life. Barry Lopez rides a perfect line between his feelings and beliefs and writing a fascinating story that anyone can admire. I am lucky enough to relate to many of the world views Lopez espouses in the book, but I would recommend this journey to everyone, regardless of their image of the direction humanity seems to be heading towards. I learned something valuable in every section of this book, and my travel ...more
Jenny
Oct 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Lopez knocked it out of the park with this one. In Horizon, he writes about his multitude of experiences traveling, working, and learning about other cultures. Each section is based in a place and the themes loosely orbit that place. You'll meet interesting people in each story he tells. This is part autobiography, but mostly a reflection on history, culture, and where we go from here. I listened to the audiobook version and the narration was exquisite. I recommend reading this in small chunks s ...more
Heidi Barr
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
fantastic.
Miguette
May 10, 2019 rated it it was ok
Shelves: gave-up-on
Barry Lopez on the importance of...Barry Lopez.

I gave up on it, I might someday go back to it. I am definitely going to read Arctic Dreams, but this was self conscious and precious. I don’t know..
Justin
Oct 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
5/5 A book for our times. Not an autobiography but autobiographic. Not a travelogue but essays of travels. A story of our place in the Anthropocene, both uplifting and depressing, and ultimately a beautiful account of a life devoted to understanding people and places that are ultimately unknowable. From the coast of Oregon to the Galapagos to Tanzania to Australia, and ending in Antarctica. Really without adequate words to communicate how singular this book feels.
Craig Amason
Jun 28, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit of advice for the average reader who decides to tackle this latest book by Lopez: have a thesaurus nearby, perhaps in your lap. Lopez is an amazing writer and a master of vocabulary. Reading him is an education in diction, style, form, and just about anything else good writing provides. I suspect Lopez has never been a tourist, although he has traveled the globe, all around and top to bottom. No, I mean literally. He seeks and finds a deeper meaning in his travels, by design of course, but ...more
Lance Tilford
Jul 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Barry Lopez is a master of capturing the essence of a journey, both in the physical and spiritual sense. He approaches his subjects--in this case, a handful of remote spaces on the globe including the Arctic, Antarctic, Galapagos Islands, the wild coast of Oregon, an African savannah and others--both with reverence and a critical eye.
The journeys he relates in Horizon are perhaps even more personal this time, as each place triggers memories of a deep and wide variety of experience, of not just
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Kasey Lawson
Nov 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“I think of him on the road to Puerto del Hambre—mad though he might have been—as no different from most of us, doing what we all do when the scaffolding of the certainties we carry with us, and by which we navigate, collapses, when indisputable truth suddenly reassembles itself in front of us, like the images in a kaleidoscope. We go on professing confidently what we know, armed with a secular faith in all that is reasonable, even though we sense that mystery is the real condition in which we l ...more
Liam Guilar
Jun 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I've admired Lopez's writing for decades, and I was wondering if this book, which feels close to a final statement, might not live up to the quality of the others.

There are few writers who can describe landscapes this well, and even fewer who can describe what it's like to be in that landscape, moving through it. He is attentive to the particular.

Growing from this attention to detail, Lopez has always been after wisdom. And wisdom is not something the English speaking world values. YNo one ca
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Mike Toms
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Horizon is an incredible book, thoughtful in its perspectives on human life and, at times, profound in its sentiment. Although centred around the expeditions and other trips that Barry Lopez has made over several decades, the book is really about humanity and ways of living. Central to this are the narratives of societies, both tribal and other, that lead the reader (like the author) to question our modern constructs of what society should be.

The narrative is not entirely linear, Lopez looping
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Jane Demuth
Oct 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
Nuanced. Sublime. Brilliant. Whether it's anthropology in the far North or Australia, colonizer history in the Pacific Northwest, physical anthropology in eastern Africa, biology and evolution in the Galapagos, or geology in Antarctica, Barry Lopez's writing is consistently, almost without fail, insightful, haunting, and evocative. With the undercurrent of the looming question of imminent ecological collapse, Horizon adds an additional through line: the horror of what is now unfolding, side by s ...more
John Benson
May 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It is hard to categorize this book. In it Barry Lopez tells of his visits to places at the end of the earth in North America, Africa, the Galapagos, Australia and Antarctica. While he writes about these places, he muses on a lot of other issues. He has included good and detailed maps of each of these places. I met him and talked to him at a geography conference once when he was made an "honorary geographer". His work resonates with geographers as he explores places deeply. It is a long book with ...more
Paul
Oct 28, 2019 rated it liked it
I find it hard to give "Horizon" a rating here. I love Barry Lopez. His intellect and thought process, along with the beauty of his vision and writing, amaze me.
The start of this book, with the hopeful nature of his view of the diver and his grandson at the pool on Oahu, led me to look for the hopeful through Lopez' writing in this book. And I did; really anytime I read Lopez it opens my eyes and my heart to the infinite possibility of man and nature.
What keep me from a higher rating is t
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Rj
Nov 11, 2019 rated it liked it
After reading a review in the New York Review of Books I was intrigued about Lopez's book. However, after picking up the book which features the author travelling all over the globe in an attempt to understand himself and other cultures, his tone and style of writing came off as too pompous to finish. The subjects he writes about are indeed fascinating but there is a smugness about his writing that left me not wanting to return to the book.

"The stimulation of that journey-the geographies, the a
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Bryan
Aug 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An epic work of memoir/travel literature. Lopez goes beyond just recounting episodes spanning his decades of world travel and includes philosophical , environmental, scientific, anthropological and sociological musings. His descriptions of place verge on mystical and his delicate sense of place is apparent everywhere. He shows great respect for the indigenous peoples of the many places he has visited. At its deepest level this book is a mediation on the meaning of life, nature and community, tin ...more
Paul Tubb
Nov 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good, but not his best work.

Lopez writes best about the Arctic and deserts of the South West USA and it shows in this book. His most luminous writing concerns his time in the Arctic; he needs the wildlife, the landscape and the people past and present to reflect off. That is why the subsequent section on his time in Antarctica is pretty pedestrian. The section on the Galapagos is simply depressing.

His discussions on human indifference, the need to conserve and show empath
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Barry Holstun Lopez is an American author, essayist, and fiction writer whose work is known for its environmental and social concerns.

Lopez has been described as "the nation's premier nature writer" by the San Francisco Chronicle. In his non-fiction, he frequently examines the relationship between human culture and physical landscape, while in his fiction he addresses issues of intimac
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“One emerging view of Homo sapiens among evolutionary biologists is that he has built a trap for himself by clinging to certain orthodoxies in a time of environmental emergency. A belief in cultural progress, for example, or in the propriety of a social animal’s quest for individual material wealth is what has led people into the trap, or so goes the thinking. To cause the trap to implode, to disintegrate, humanity has to learn to navigate using a reckoning fundamentally different from the one it’s long placed its faith in. A promising first step to take in dealing with this trap might be to bring together wisdom keepers from traditions around the world whose philosophies for survival developed around the same uncertainty of a future that Darwin suggested lies embedded in everything biological. Such wisdom keepers would be people who are able to function well in the upheaval of any century. Their faith does not lie solely with pursuing technological innovation as an approach to solving humanity’s most pressing problems. Their solutions lie with a profound change in what humans most value.” 2 likes
“To go in search of what once was is to postpone the difficulty of living with what is.” 2 likes
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