Shooting Polaris: A Personal Survey in the American West [NOOK Book]

Overview

Shooting Polaris is John Hales’s fascinating and far-reaching account of working as a government surveyor in the southern Utah desert. In it, he describes his search for a place in the natural world, beginning with an afternoon spent tracking down a lost crew member who cracked up on the job and concluding with his supervising a group of at-risk teenagers on a backpacking trip in the Escalante wilderness. In between, he depicts a range of experiences in and outside nature, including hostile barroom encounters ...
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Shooting Polaris: A Personal Survey in the American West

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Overview

Shooting Polaris is John Hales’s fascinating and far-reaching account of working as a government surveyor in the southern Utah desert. In it, he describes his search for a place in the natural world, beginning with an afternoon spent tracking down a lost crew member who cracked up on the job and concluding with his supervising a group of at-risk teenagers on a backpacking trip in the Escalante wilderness. In between, he depicts a range of experiences in and outside nature, including hostile barroom encounters between surveyors and tourists, weekends spent climbing Navajo Mountain and floating what remains of Glen Canyon, and late-night arguments concerning the meaning and purpose of nature with the eccentric polygamist who ran the town in which the surveyors parked their bunk trailers. Although this work is autobiographical, Shooting Polaris is so much more. It is a reflection on man’s relationship to nature and work, American history and the movement into the West, the desire to impose order and the contrary impulse for unmediated experience, the idealistic legacy of the sixties, the influence of the Mormon Church, and the often-antagonistic relationship of American capitalism to sound ecological management. Along the way, Hales introduces engaging characters and reveals the art, science, and history of surveying, an endeavor that turns out to be surprisingly profound.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

“In Shooting Polaris, John Hales reminds us of the everyday miracles and mysteries that exist in memory, in history, and in the natural world.  By weaving together elements of his own story with the stories of others he encounters along his journey, Hales maps a tale that is as intriguing and personal as a diary, yet as true and universal as the polestar itself.”—Kim Barnes, author of In the Wilderness: Coming of Age in Unknown Country

 “Hales engages us both emotionally and intellectually. This is creative nonfiction at its best, this artful union of fact and experience and memory. . . . Line by line, the writing is wonderful, and individual sections are as fine as any from writers such as Edward Abbey or Annie Dillard.”—Lee Martin, author of From Our House: A Memoir                     

“The writing has truly spectacular moments, particularly the lyrical description of the natural world, infused with humor and such a wide-ranging intelligence.”—Nancy McCabe, author of Meeting Sophie:A Memoir of Adoption

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780826264954
  • Publisher: University of Missouri Press
  • Publication date: 4/24/2013
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 296
  • File size: 910 KB

Meet the Author

 

John Hales is Professor of English at California State University, Fresno.
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Table of Contents


Contents
Acknowledgments 00
Prologue
Orientation: The Front Chainman Loses His Bearings 00
Chapter One Where I Surveyed, and What I Surveyed For 00
Chapter Two Running Line on Nipple Bench 00
Chapter Three The Polygamist's Bar and Café 00
Chapter Four Modern Methods 00
Chapter Five Friday Night in the Virgin Narrows 00
Chapter Six Visitors 00
Chapter Seven Bearing Objects 00
Chapter Eight Family Men 00
Chapter Nine The View from Navajo Mountain 00
Chapter Ten Hiking In, and Hiking Out 00
Chapter Eleven The Polygamist Holds Forth 00
Chapter Twelve Shooting Polaris 00
Epilogue
The Opening to the Womb of the World 00
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