Customer Reviews for

Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness

Average Rating 4.5
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  • Posted June 12, 2010

    A Unique Book by A Unique Person

    This book should be read to understand the thinking of one of the most important figures in the modern naturalist movement. Edward Abbey is a unique individual with strong opinions. This book allows the reader to understand Abbey's perspective which was gained by personal experience in some of the most remote areas of this country. The reader should try to understand how someone so connected to the land felt about the intrusion of the modern world. Whether you not you agree with Abbey's opinions, try to understand his perspective. This book is insightful to a time and country that no longer exists. I recently went to Arches National Park to learn that the NPS let the trailer that Abbey lived in deteriorate and they disposed of it. There is nothing left to mark the spot unless you read the book and can find it from Abbey's description. Perhaps that is the way that Abbey himself would have wanted it.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2007

    One of my all-time favorites

    I seldom read a book twice but I have read this a dozen times. I've loaned it out, I've even read the whole thing out loud to my husband who doesn't read much just so he wouldn't miss it. It's a must read for relaxing, for appreciating nature, for finding yourself, for exploring, and for anyone who ever plans to visit or not visit southern Utah in their lifetime. It will make you love what you¿ve never seen or never expected you would ever want to. Like being eaten by vultures so you could fly over the desert. And the whole time it¿s so subtly and sarcastically funny.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 7, 2003

    Uncompromising Environmental Advocacy

    Edward Abbey¿s Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness, is an autobiographical account of Abbey¿s stint working as a park ranger at Arches National Monument in Utah. At once this book is philosophical and poetic, yet at the same time, sardonic and polemical. Although the author would probably scowl at such pigeonholing, this book is also a significant environmental statement, as well as being a great piece of literature. In Desert Solitaire, Abbey identifies and adeptly defines a common frustration shared by many writers; the annoyance of not being able to adequately express one¿s self through the medium of words. He states, ¿You cannot get the desert into a book any more than a fisherman can haul up the sea with his nets. Not imitation but evocation has been the goal.¿ However, even through his self-styled ¿evocation¿, he successfully and intimately enfolds his readers within his unique experience. A reluctant naturalist, Abbey blames the human inability to discern the true meaning of nature, on a tendency to always project our own expectations on the natural world. These are tendencies that exasperate him, and yet when he does achieve a near-true communion, as he describes in his experiences in isolation in Havasu Creek, he finds the encounter more disturbing than ecstatic. He describes losing the power to distinguish between himself and the natural world, creating in him a fear that his sense of self was ¿ebbing away.¿ In addition, throughout his career as a writer, Abbey refused the label ¿environmentalist.¿ Nevertheless, his books are useful instruments with which to measure our progress, or lack of progress as the case may be, in our relationship to our natural environment. In this book¿s chapter entitled, ¿Industrial Tourism and the National Parks¿, he lays out his philosophy that ¿growth for growth¿s sake is the ideology of the cancer cell.¿ Looking today at the corruption of the wilderness areas that he warned readers about three and four decades ago, it is plain to see how correct he was in his estimation and condemnation of policies pertaining to our National Parks. Whether he admitted it or not, Abbey set a tone of uncompromising environmental advocacy. In looking at Edward Abbey, the reader is also confronted by contradiction. He passionately argues for the importance of untamed wilderness and against the danger of industrial tourism. He declares he would rather kill a human than a snake, and then casually bops a rabbit on the head with a rock, just to see what his own reaction will be. He beguiles us with his description of Arches, and then chides us for wanting to go there. These passionate paradoxes are the tools he uses most effectively to lure us away from our complacency. Most importantly, Abbey¿s work his work serves as an inspiration to new generations of Western writers and historians, making us realize that wilderness really is a necessary ingredient of civilization.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 2, 2012

    Great read!

    Love to read Edward Abbey.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2003

    Desert Solitare

    This has opened my eyes to the world that i do not see, i love this book because it paints the picture that a picture cant

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