The Abstract Wildby Jack Turner
"A deep and darkly provocative book, a soul wringer and chaser, written with the resonant authority of a Bach fugue. . . . You need a firm hold on your chair for this one."--Jim Harrison, author of Woman Lit by/b>/i>/b>
"A cry in the dark, passionate and provocative, and it must be heard."--Peter Matthiessen, author of Snow Leopard
"A deep and darkly provocative book, a soul wringer and chaser, written with the resonant authority of a Bach fugue. . . . You need a firm hold on your chair for this one."--Jim Harrison, author of Woman Lit by Fireflies
"Included here [are] some of the most original, refreshing and frightening discussions of trends in human relationships with the natural world that I have seen in years. . . .Only a few recent writers have broken such new ground in nature writing."--Gary Paul Nabhan, author of Gathering the Desert
If anything is endangered in America it is our experience of wild nature--gross contact. There is knowledge only the wild can give us, knowledge specific to it, knowledge specific to the experience of it. These are its gifts to us.
How wild is wilderness and how wild are our experiences in it, asks Jack Turner in the pages of The Abstract Wild. His answer: not very wild. National parks and even so-called wilderness areas fall far short of offering the primal, mystic connection possible in wild places. And this is so, Turner avows, because any managed land, never mind what it's called, ceases to be wild. Moreover, what little wildness we have left is fast being destroyed by the very systems designed to preserve it.
Natural resource managers, conservation biologists, environmental economists, park rangers, zoo directors, and environmental activists: Turner's new book takes aim at these and all others who labor in the name of preservation. He argues for a new conservation ethic that focuses less on preserving things and more on preserving process and "leaving things be." He takes off after zoos and wilderness tourism with a vengeance, and he cautions us to resist language that calls a tree "a resource" and wilderness "a management unit."
Eloquent and fast-paced, The Abstract Wild takes a long view to ask whether ecosystem management isn't "a bit of a sham" and the control of grizzlies and wolves "at best a travesty." Next, the author might bring his readers up-close for a look at pelicans, mountain lions, or Shamu the whale. From whatever angle, Turner stirs into his arguments the words of dozens of other American writers including Thoreau, Hemingway, Faulkner, and environmentalist Doug Peacock.
We hunger for a kind of experience deep enough to change our selves, our form of life, writes Turner. Readers who take his words to heart will find, if not their selves, their perspectives on the natural world recast in ways that are hard to ignore and harder to forget.
Jack Turner is a world traveler and former academic philosopher. Now the chief climbing guide for a mountaineering school in Grand Teton National Park, he is currently working on a book about the Tetons.
"Powerfully written essays on our relationship to wilderness. . . . This sometimes blistering, provocative, well-written book is an ecoradical's dream come true—and every reader concerned with wilderness issues should take it into account."—Kirkus Reviews
"This is not a safe little treatise. It's a clarion call, a manifesto, a defense summation for the embattled, innocent, integrated world."—Western American Literature
- University of Arizona Press
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- 5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x (d)
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Read this book if you want a different, first hand take on the idea of (W)ilderness or wilderness. Turner is as close as we have to a living Ed Abbey, but the Tetons are his desert, and he does them as much justice as Abbey ever did the Southwest. My only complaint is that he hasn't written more.