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Scott’s review of Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness
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Aug 12, 2008 03:42PM
The best review I've read.
Nov 08, 2008 07:34PM
(last edited Jan 15, 2010 12:09AM)
Jan 14, 2010 11:57PM
If it was a "paean to to the sheer wonder of Abbey himself" he wouldn't have included the part about getting himself "ledged up" above the Havasu river. That's a tourist's mistake. It probably wouldn't have included him killing the rabbit, hiking without enough water and being too chicken to go down the rope first (into the Maze). If you took out "the sheer wonder of" it would read more accurately.
It might have been wearisome to you but to me Abbey's description of Glen Canyon before the dam was the closest thing to being there of any account i've read. I could visualize the mouth of the Escalante and the long since drowned canyon he hiked up.
Gonzo environmentalism? Maybe you're thinking of the Monkey Wrench Gang? There's no gonzo environmentalism in Desert Solitaire. I mean.... c'mon he rolled a tire into a canyon in chapter 1 (I think). BTW- interesting use of the word gonzo, nonsensical but interesting nonetheless, and you owe the estate of Hunter S. Thompson 13 cents.
There's no doubt that Abbey was a self righteous, self-important, hypocritical blowhard. Self aggrandizing he wasn't. All his books are semi-autobiographical (almost), if you don't like that writing style why read them? Why'd you finish this one?
Dec 13, 2010 06:50PM
Thanks for sparing me the trouble of writing a review, which would have been identical in substance (but less eloquent) than yours.
Jul 17, 2011 11:50PM
I have to ask, Scott ... did you actually read this book?
Jan 21, 2014 07:49PM
I think you let your review get away from you. "Abbey needs solitude about as much as a jackass needs a flush toilet." You are trying to look down your nose at the work of this magnificent writer? Consider that you might be reacting so emotionally at his having stomped all over what you consider to be your territory. Maybe he said things you wished you'd said, though with his subtle and vibrant slant and not your likely colorlessly-crafted world view. Could you be the person with the ego problem? The author speaks beautifully and ultimately, optimistically. That is the undertone. He profoundly appreciates and advocates for this place, and we (those who can take the writing in context) love that! His style is firt-rate! Most of us can look past the '60s world view and see the book for what it is. I can't stand that he kills things, but he rolled up his sleeves and became one of them - and he is their true-blue advocate. He did this at a time when a world population of 10 billion was nearly unimaginable. Maybe no sense then and there that we really need to stop killing wild animals and upsetting balance - in a hurry! He only did the former, apparently without conscience. It is a matter of fact that many of us "humans" have such wild predispositions. A valid criticsm of the work for sure, iff the world would be better off with only empathetic humans. Who knows?
Jul 08, 2014 02:49PM
I enjoyed this book and was swept away by the philosophical mental meandering of Abbey but I agree with the review too. Abbey's sense of 'holier than thou' and preachy attitude are part of what makes the reading interesting. We've all known those types; interesting to listen to and sensitive but clouded by his inflated ego.
Aug 22, 2014 07:21AM
I found myself skipping philosophy whenever I could. There are some good stories, no doubt, but there is also a lot of unneeded philosophizing.
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