"An apostle of life and earth and a soul-revving teller of true stories, Williams (The Hour of Land, 2016) brings lyricism, candor, mystery, and factual exactitude to the deeply affecting essays collected here . . . Williams’ exquisite testimony of wonder and wisdom is vitalizing and crucial."
Booklist, starred review
"This anthology of grief, anger, and even hope capably reflects Williams' wise voice."
“These essays are a joy to read. Terry Tempest Williams is a wise and fierce defender of the wild Earth.”
Leslie Marmon Silko, author of The Turquoise Ledge
“Terry Tempest Williams’s voice in the clamor is like a hot desert wind blowing away the litter in a crowded room and leaving behind only what has weight, what is essential. These are essays about the courage to face what is most brutal and monstrous, by finding what is most beautiful and merciful.”
Rebecca Solnit, author of Call Them by Their True Names
“Luminous, fearless, brutally honest. But with this latest book, Williams takes her spiritual love of the American Westalong with her grief, anger and exasperation at what we continue to do to this placeto a new level. If John Muir ever wrote like this, most of the West would be in wilderness protection by now. As well, she knows her way to the human heart.”
Timothy Egan, author of The Immortal Irishman
“Terry Tempest Williams has rewritten the rules for the way we must engage the natural world and each other. Erosion is both a shout from the edge of what we were and a beckoning to what we must become. Pick up your courage and this book; be prepared to take notesand action.”
Alexandra Fuller, author of Quiet Until the Thaw
“Terry Tempest Williams is our great activist laureate. Working out of the lineage of Dickinson, O’Keeffe, D. H. Lawrence, and, later, Abbey and Peacock, she is nonetheless singular and extraordinarily original. She is rooted as juniper yet ephemeral as a sand dune. The forces that have eroded her are rapture and grief. What remains is elemental beauty.”
Rick Bass, author of For a Little While
“These are the most dangerous of all days for humans on Earth, and Erosion is the book for our time. Writing on the edge of the sacred, Terry Tempest Williams's message bears the power and emotional gifts of a close call with a charging grizzly. There are no stray words. Terry writes with a purity glimpsed in certain outcrops of crystalline rock or the waters filling a chain of alpine lakes. I believe there is no more important writer working today.”
Doug Peacock, author of In the Shadow of the Sabertooth
New and previously published essays from the well-known conservationist alternately rage and despair over national policies of land and wildlife conservation.
The election of Donald Trump spelled a dark moment for environmentalists like Williams (Writer-in-Residence/Harvard Divinity School; The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks, 2015, etc.), who increasingly sees a "world torn to pieces." The erosion of the protection of public lands, most recently that of Utah's Bears Ears National Monument, has compelled the author to become increasingly political, sometimes to the detriment of her personal life. When her longtime husband, Brooke, said that she "was too immersed in politics—‘obsessed' was the word he used—and that it wasn't healthy," her response was telling: "We have to keep fighting….It's not just about our species." Owls, for which Williams has a particular affinity, would agree, as would countless other species, such as prairie dogs, wolves, and sage grouse, all of which suffer from the erosion of the Endangered Species Act (1973). A "totemic act," it has "never been more relevant and never more at risk." These essays—written between 2016 and 2018 and mostly high quality—take readers to extraordinary places, including the Great Salt Lake and surrounding areas; Jackson Hole, Wyoming, where she saw "one constant: pronghorns"; the Alaskan Brooks Range ("in the Arctic, global warming is not an abstraction"); the Galápagos Islands, where the author discovered countless wonders on land and at sea; the Virunga Mountains of Rwanda, where she observed gorillas amid a war-torn country bleeding itself for charcoal production. Elsewhere, she writes about how she confronted the religious politics of the Latter-day Saint patriarchy in Utah, where she lived, forcing her to leave her professorship for the unknown. She also confronts the traumatic, untimely death of her brother by suicide in 2018. Though the book contains mostly prose, there is also poetry and a long Q-and-A with fellow environmentalist Tim DeChristopher.
Not every piece is a winner, but this anthology of grief, anger, and even hope capably reflects Williams' wise voice.