Sagebrush Ocean: A Natural History of the Great Basin

Sagebrush Ocean: A Natural History of the Great Basin

by Stephen Trimble
     
 

Noted writer and photographer Stephen Trimble mixes eloquent accounts of personal experiences with clear explication of natural history. His photographs capture some of the most spectacular but least-known scenery in the western states. The Great Basin Desert sweeps from the Sierra to the Rockies, from the Snake River Plain to the Mojave Desert. "Biogeography

Overview


Noted writer and photographer Stephen Trimble mixes eloquent accounts of personal experiences with clear explication of natural history. His photographs capture some of the most spectacular but least-known scenery in the western states. The Great Basin Desert sweeps from the Sierra to the Rockies, from the Snake River Plain to the Mojave Desert. "Biogeography" would be one way to sum up Trimble's focus on the land: what lives where, and why. He introduces concepts of desert ecology and discusses living communities of animals and plants that band Great Basin mountains—from the exhilarating emptiness of dry lake-beds to alpine regions at the summits of the 13,000-foot Basin ranges.

This is the best general introduction to the ecology and spirit of the Great Basin, a place where "the desert almost seems to mirror the sky in size," where mountains hold "ravens, bristlecone pines, winter stillness—and unseen, but satisfying, the possibility of bighorn sheep." Trimble's photographs come from the backcountry of this rugged land, from months of exploring and hiking the Great Basin wilderness in all seasons; and his well-chosen words come from a rare intimacy with the West.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"The Sagebrush Ocean is one beauty of a book, a triumph of regional literature of the kind we need, to relate more closely to his land of ours." —Harold Gilliam, The San Francisco Chronicle

“This seemingly harsh, but actually beautiful—and fragile—landscape cannot even be seen, much less appreciated, at seventy miles per hour. You have to dismount your Ford and investigate it on foot. If you cannot do so, Trimble’s survey is the next best thing. His writing style is first-person informal (almost conversational), but informed.” —Richard Dillon, True West

“Books as well written, well researched, and nicely photographed as this one are a rare commodity in the expanding literary genre of Western natural history. What Stephen Trimble and the University of Nevada Press have combined to produce here is a single package that fits well in all these categories.” —Dan Flores, Department of History, University of Montana, Missoula

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
When a group of California-bound ``argonauts'' almost perished, crossing Death Valley's wasteland in 1849, the legends of gold and hellish climate instantly achieved lasting interest.i rewrote this sentence; read carefully But modern readers will have problems with these 27 tales: most were written between 1890 and 1910 in the ornate, stilted diction of that era. There's some historical value in a few eye-witness accounts of the '49ers' troubles: John Wells Brier's ``The Argonauts of Death Valley'' and William Lewis Manly's ``Good-Bye Death Valley!'' and ``Charles Alvord.'' The other pieces have curiosity value at best. Sydney Norman's 1908 attack on ``Death Valley Scotty,'' titled ``Chasing Rainbows in Death Valley,'' is longer on spleen than on facts or good writing. Sadly, there isn't much good writing here at all, and without the editors' introductory notes readers would have trouble discerning truth from fable. The final section, on ``Tall Tales,'' dowses for humor and comes up dry. (Nov.)
Booknews
The Great Basin (from the Sierras to the Rockies, from the Snake River Plain to the Mojave Desert) is one of the least novelized, least painted, least eulogized of America's landscapes. Trimble, photographer and writer, gives an overview treatment of the biogeography of the region, its compendium of plant and animal and place. Nicely illustrated with 44 color photos and 90 duotones. Oversized at 91/2x121/2". Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780874173437
Publisher:
University of Nevada Press
Publication date:
07/01/1999
Series:
Natural History Series
Edition description:
10TH ANNOTATED
Pages:
296
Product dimensions:
9.20(w) x 12.40(h) x 0.90(d)

What People are saying about this

Wallace Stegner
The Sagebrush Ocean will be a revelation to those who have habitually steeled themselves to drive across the desert at seventy miles an hour, generally at night. They have been missing something fabulous....It ought to be in the pack of every desert camper and every off-road recreationist, just to teach them respect for what they use so freely. It ought to be on the seat of every car that starts across from Salt Lake to Reno, or vice versa, to give even seventy-mile-an-hour travelers some notion of what that apparently monotonous sagebrush ocean contains of the diversity and mystery of life.

Meet the Author


Stephen Trimble was born in Denver, his family's base for roaming the West with his geologist father. After a liberal arts education at Colorado College, he worked as a park ranger in Colorado and Utah, earned a master's degree in ecology at the University of Arizona, served as director of the Museum of Northern Arizona Press, and for five years lived near Santa Fe, New Mexico. He has been a full-time free-lance writer and photographer since 1981.

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