Steven Howes's Reviews > Desert Solitaire

Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey
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Jun 01, 2012

it was amazing

This is one of those books that should be read more than once in order to get the most out of it. On the surface, it is a description of the author's experiences during a six-month stint with the National Park Service in Arches National Monument in the 1960's. However, the author reveals much more of himself and his thoughts on such topics as industrial growth, the value of wilderness, the federal bureaucracy and its decision making process, organized religion, mistreatment of Native Americans, among other things. The beauty of this book is the author's prose and his verbal descriptions of the the things he sees and experiences - sunrises and sunsets, thunderstorms, flash floods, the sun on the water, canyon walls, flowers, and animals. Even his description of finding a dead body as part of a search party made me want to be there (with some Vicks under my nose). My favorite part of the book was the author's narrative of a raft trip through Glen Canyon prior to the dam and formation of Lake Powell. I think his description did in words for Glen Canyon what Ferde Grofe did for the Grand Canyon in music (Grand Canyon Suite). The only diffence is that we still have the Grand Canyon while the wonders of Glen Canyon are lost forever.

(If you wish to read a more detailed description of this book, look at the Wikipedia entry for Desert Solitaire).
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