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4.14  ·  Rating details ·  772 ratings  ·  165 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 decades of liv
Hardcover, 572 pages
Published March 19th 2019 by Knopf Publishing Group
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Average rating 4.14  · 
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 ·  772 ratings  ·  165 reviews

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Hannah Greendale
It is every person's moral imperative to read this book.

Our ancesters offer us historical meaning, but they give us no indication of the future. And what is true for us is true for every other animal: no matter our impressive history, every day we advance figuratively into evolutionary darkness. And, because we are inescapably biological, we have no protection against extinction.


Whether the world we've made is not a good one for our progeny - asking ourselves about the specific identity of
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
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 individu
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
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.
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
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.
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
Sydney Doidge
Aug 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction, 2019, memoirs
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
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.

I’ve been on a bit of a travel kick recently, but there’s a pandemic and I’m immunocompromised, so the only real way I can currently travel is through books. A little while ago, I went online and put out a call, “I need to go on a vacation, but I still can’t really risk leaving the house. Tell me what books I should read that will take me on a mental vacation.” Someone mentioned, “Anything by Barry Lopez” and here we are.

I’ve never read a Barry Lopez book
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
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
Scott Martin
Oct 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Most thoughtful book I’ve read in at least a decade.
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 intensely and then
Aug 02, 2020 added it
Barry Lopez is learned and writes beautiful descriptions of the lands and seas he visits. He is a raconteur, a storyteller. In short, this is an enjoyable memoir of a man who has had the opportunity—made the opportunities—to travel to exotic, distant, and extreme environments to record on life there.
I will not be able to travel to these places, I am happy to have in “Horizons” a reliable account of what they are like.
At times, it seems, Lopez not only wishes to be explorer, archeologist, scienti
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.
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.
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
Captain Sir Roddy, R.N. (Ret.)
One of those books that you can pick up and read, and three hours later you realize that you have just traveled to Greenland or to the Galapagos Islands. Lopez is a lyrical writer and his words have not only the power to transport you to magical and exotic locales, but he's also able to educate his reader and make them more fully understand that we all simply must do more--a lot more--to protect our planet Earth. This is the kind of book that you can, and should, throw in your backpack as you ta ...more
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.
Jan 09, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Katherine, Paul, James
A very thought-provoking read, combining a memoir and contemplative reflections on Lopez's life-long travels to the most remote corners of the earth, with his philosophical observations on the the natural world as well as on the history and likely future of life on the planet (particularly for homo sapiens, but for all life forms). Although I felt that he occasionally went into too much detail of a particular experience while making a point, overall the book is both engaging and challenging for ...more
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
In the first chapter, Lopez sits on the stormy Oregon coast and decides he is going to use a telescope to systematically scan the entire horizon, minute by minute. He expects it will take him two hours, but actually it takes an entire day, from sunrise till sunset. I almost gave up at that point, but am glad I didn’t. The book of course opens up, as the author travels to some of the most remote and exotic locations on the globe. But this story gives you some idea of his focus, scope and pace.

Jan 18, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This is a remarkable book, and a remarkable author. Barry Lopez took me on journeys with him all around the world, and shared his deep insights about indigenous people and their elders, the natural world, the importance of place, the history of navigation, so much of compelling interest... honestly, re-reading the book immediately would be worthwhile, but for all of the other books I already am waiting to read. Barry lives in Oregon, and I heard him being interviewed on OPB, and thought, he sure ...more
Horizons is an apt name for the sweeping views that make this book exhilarating. An immense penguin colony seen from high cliffs in Antarctica. A herd of running kangaroos seen from a train in Australia. Beautiful and strange effects of the light in Antarctica. Lopez also offers some important alternatives to damagingly narrow views such as equating progress with materialistic success. I didn't care, though, for his musings on on how evolution might be developing (humo sapiens potentially breaki ...more
Jun 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
A friend and I like to joke about our varied travels by one-upping each other with anecdotes from our most obscure locales: "Ah yes, well that reminds me of the time I tried yak butter tea in the Himalayan foothills..."

We'd both lose to Lopez, as he makes clear on page after page of recollection. The man has earned it. Horizon is a vast, encompassing, occasionally dense, often instructive, and sometimes moving remembrance of journeys, the historical explorations that have inspired his travels, a
Aug 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: moving-train
Reading this book reminded me of how I felt watching the scene in Out of Africa where the two are flying over the Kenyan landscape. It made me weep for the beauty and for the gnawing fear that such beauty will perhaps not endure. Barry Lopez makes me feel the same way. The beauty of the places, some remote and one right near me, and the fragility of the land and of the people who have previously and do now inhabit it are so very present. There are so many insights into our past and our uncertain ...more
Autumn Kotsiuba
Apr 06, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
This is the first of Lopez's books that I've read that didn't feel like it had a core subject; the essays within cover an array of spaces and I suppose it would fit better to call this a memoir. Good, just not the familiar topic I was hoping for when I picked it up.
Apr 06, 2020 marked it as abandoned
Got about 2 hours into the 22 hour audio book and found it boring and patronizing, which was disappointing since I feel like I am interested in the things he was writing about and had high hopes.
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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 intimacy, ethics an

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Are you spending this season bundling up against the chill or enjoying summery southern hemisphere vibes (in which case we are...
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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.” 4 likes
“What perished with their cultures were their unique ideas of what it meant to be courteous, reverent, courageous, and just. What disappeared with them were their thoughts about what could be expected to be going on in the places into which we cannot see. As our own cultures continue to unfold around the riptides of aggressive commerce and heedless development, it seems these thoughts might have been good things to have made note of.” 3 likes
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