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This extraordinary book, composed "at odd intervals, when I lay against a rock or propped up in the sand", is a masterpiece of personal philosophy, containing precise scientific analyses of diverse phenomena-- from erosion to sky colors-- and prescient ruminations on the nature of civilization. "The desert should never be reclaimed!" Van Dyke wrote, yet he lived long enough to see the reclamation projects in what became the Imperial Valley. He did not witness the virtual destruction of the Colorado Desert still ongoing. As poet Richard Shelton wonders in his introduction, "Where are the herds of antelope Van Dyke spoke of, and the gray wolves and the pure air?"
This series celebrates the tradition of literary naturalists-- writers who embrace the natural world as the setting for some of our most euphoric and serious experiences. Their literary terrain maps the intimate connections between the human and the natural world, a subject defined by Mary Austin in 1920 as "a third thing... the sum of what passed between me and the Land." Literary naturalists transcend political boundaries, social concerns and historical milieus; they speak for what Henry Beston called the "other nations" of the planet. Their message acquires more weigh
Posted December 15, 2002
Xlnt! If you are a desert rat of any sort you will enjoy this book. I read this book in high school and have returned to it many times since. Take a trip back in time and explore the desert as it was before paved roads brought about the destruction of our local California deserts.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.