The Secret Knowledge of Water: There Are Two Easy Ways to Die in the Desert: Thirst and Drowning

The Secret Knowledge of Water: There Are Two Easy Ways to Die in the Desert: Thirst and Drowning

3.8 5
by Craig Childs
     
 

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Deserts are environments that can be inhospitable even to seasoned explorers. Craig Childs has spent years in the deserts of the American West, and his treks through arid lands in search of water reveal the natural world at its most extreme.

Overview

Deserts are environments that can be inhospitable even to seasoned explorers. Craig Childs has spent years in the deserts of the American West, and his treks through arid lands in search of water reveal the natural world at its most extreme.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Childs's obsessive quest to find, map, observe and get wet in the waters of America's deserts has personal roots. Born in the Sonoran Desert of West Texas, this naturalist, river guide and author of four previous books (most recently, Grand Canyon) grew up learning to revere water, that fickle, scarce, elemental sustainer of life. More than a fiercely lyrical travelogue through Arizona, Utah, the Grand Canyon and northern Mexico's cottonwood-willow forests, his hypnotic new book describes an existential adventure. Trekking for days or weeks, alone or with a companion, in search of random waterholes, rare creeks, waterfalls, springs, shrimp-filled pools and sudden, furious floods, Childs mingles personal observations with a cosmic perspective ("Most, if not all, water on this planet came from countless small comets thumping against the atmosphere... ") to make readers feel an integral part of earth's hydrologic processes. Far from being arid, his narrative ripples with adventure. He descends into a slot canyon full of 800-year-old handprints left by the Anasazi people; spots desert fish found nowhere else and believed to be holdovers from the Ice Age; survives an Arizona chubasco, a violent convective thunderstorm that rips roofs off buildings and creates myriad waterfalls. Childs's sources are diverse: conversations with archeologists, ecologists, ranchers, conservationists, geologists; Native American legends; tales of backpackers, explorers and illegal immigrants who fell victim to the desert; and a meticulous, 300-year-old desert map made by a Jesuit missionary from Spain. His highly personal odyssey combines John McPhee's gift for compressing scientific knowledge and Barry Lopez's spiritual questing. Five-city author tour. (Mar.) Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.|
Library Journal
Over the course of two years, naturalist/ adventurer Childs took a series of month-long treks on foot through each of the North American deserts in search of water. An astute observer of nature and a concise writer with a knack for storytelling, he meticulously records each significant occurrence in an attempt to understand how the absence or presence of something most of us take for granted dictates life and death in the harsh environment. Highlights include terrifying accounts of flash floods and a fascinating cave exploration, complete with wet suits, deep in the Grand Canyon. Recommended for all regional and most natural history collections, although a bibliography would have been a useful addition.--Tim J. Markus, Evergreen State Coll. Lib., Olympia, WA Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316610698
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
05/01/2001
Pages:
304
Sales rank:
174,918
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.75(d)

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Secret Knowledge of Water: There Are Two Easy Ways to Die in the Desert: Thirst and Drowning 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its ok to me
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Previous reviewers must be less than fully literate. This book is one of the most beautifully written non-fiction works I have had the pleasure of reading. The metaphors and imagery are unparalleled. The prose might as well be poetry. No, it isn't written (or edited) down to a third grade vocabulary level...thank god! His command of verbally is a huge part of what makes this such a breathtaking and engaging read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I READ THE SAMPLE AND I DID NOT UNDRE STAND IT AND A YOUNG CHILD SHOD NOT EAVEN KNOW WHAT THE FIRST WORD IS MUCH LESS BIY IT
Guest More than 1 year ago
Chris Childs takes you on a journey so vividly described that you can't help but be inside the adventure. His observations are astute and his prose is masterful. I couldn't put it down. It is for those with a passion for desert, solitude and nature's wonder.