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Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness (1968)

by Edward Abbey

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,609843,000 (4.24)124
When Desert Solitaire was first published in 1968, it became the focus of a nationwide cult. Rude and sensitive. Thought-provoking and mystical. Angry and loving. Both Abbey and this book are all of these and more. Here, the legendary author of The Monkey Wrench Gang, Abbey's Road and many other critically acclaimed books vividly captures the essence of his life during three seasons as a park ranger in southeastern Utah. This is a rare view of a quest to experience nature in its purest form -- the silence, the struggle, the overwhelming beauty. But this is also the gripping, anguished cry of a man of character who challenges the growing exploitation of the wilderness by oil and mining interests, as well as by the tourist industry. Abbey's observations and challenges remain as relevant now as the day he wrote them. Today, Desert Solitaire asks if any of our incalculable natural treasures can be saved before the bulldozers strike again.… (more)
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» See also 124 mentions

English (82)  Italian (1)  All languages (83)
Showing 1-5 of 82 (next | show all)
A book that sat on my 'to read list' for many years. I've read other works of Edward Abbey, this book still holds a great deal of relevance. Having lived in the American West for 30 years now, the shifting environment with more wildfires, drier conditions and expanding population shifts to the west are points that Abbey made in this book in the 1960s. His purpose-driven life in the natural environment, and the understanding of human impact on the environment are important lessons he wrote about for those for years to come. In many ways, his personal philosophy of tearing out the roads to the national parks rings more true than ever. It should be for people to walk and hike into and explore. It's not for the very young, they don't understand it yet. It's not for the elderly waiting later in life and taking their RV's, they missed the experience. The biggest part of the book that holds so much importance now is the issue of water. The disappearance in the Southwest and boom in population using what's left of the available water. This awareness in the 1960s did not force better solutions to our current problems of water now. ( )
  John_Hughel | Nov 29, 2022 |
Edward Abbey is quite the crotchety environmentalist, but it comes off as pretty charming in this book. His descriptions of the Utah desert are passionate and reading this book definitely cemented my love for that area and its unique beauty. ( )
  hms_ | Nov 22, 2022 |
Abby livied his beliefs. ( )
  mykl-s | Nov 19, 2022 |
Step back in time to the 1960s and discover the Utah desert with Edward Abbey. This book is full of beautiful nature writing about his time spent working as a ranger at Arches National Park. He describes his explorations, either alone or with one person, into regions of desert, mountains, and rivers. He vividly describes his love of the desert wilderness in passages such as:

“Gusts of sand swirl before me, stinging my face. But there is still too much to see and marvel at, the world very much alive in the bright light and wind, exultant with the fever of spring, the delight of morning. Strolling on, it seems to me that the strangeness and wonder of existence are emphasized here, in the desert, by the comparative sparsity of the flora and fauna: life not crowded upon life as in other places but scattered abroad in spareness and simplicity, with a generous gift of space for each herb and bush and tree, each stem of grass, so that the living organism stands out bold and brave and vivid against the lifeless sand and barren rock. The extreme clarity of the desert light is equaled by the extreme individuation of desert life-forms. Love flowers best in openness and freedom.”

He is outspoken in his opinions, which venture into political territory and may be off-putting to some readers. He is not a fan of industrial tourism or building roads to view nature from the comfort of a car. He is very much a “back to nature” individual. I found it interesting to consider how the perceptions of environmentalism have changed in fifty-plus years. I did not agree with all his opinions, but I enjoyed spending time in his head and seeing the desert through his eyes.
( )
  Castlelass | Oct 30, 2022 |
What a beautiful, comforting read this was. A new favourite. ( )
  Iudita | Aug 31, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 82 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Edward Abbeyprimary authorall editionscalculated
Hirvi, JussiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Macfarlane, RobertIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mailhos, JacquesTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mannino, GiovannaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ochi, MichioTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Peacock, DougIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Give me silence, water, hope
Give me struggle, iron, volcanoes
-Neruda
Dedication
for Josh and Aaron
First words
About ten years ago I took a job as a seasonal park ranger in a place called Arches National Monument near the little town of Moab in southeast Utah.
Quotations
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Information from the French Common Knowledge. Edit to localize it to your language.
Pb CK :
Date de première publication
1968 (1e édition originale américaine)
1992 (1e traduction par André le Bihan et édition française, Le grand dehors, Hoëbecke)
1998 (Réédition française, Petite bibliothèque, Payot)
2006 (Réédition française, Petite bibliothèque, Payot)
2010-10-07 (Nouvelle traduction par Jacques Mailhos et édition française, Nature writing, Gallmeister)
2018-08-23 (Réédition française, Totem, Gallmeister)
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Original language
Canonical DDC/MDS
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (4)

When Desert Solitaire was first published in 1968, it became the focus of a nationwide cult. Rude and sensitive. Thought-provoking and mystical. Angry and loving. Both Abbey and this book are all of these and more. Here, the legendary author of The Monkey Wrench Gang, Abbey's Road and many other critically acclaimed books vividly captures the essence of his life during three seasons as a park ranger in southeastern Utah. This is a rare view of a quest to experience nature in its purest form -- the silence, the struggle, the overwhelming beauty. But this is also the gripping, anguished cry of a man of character who challenges the growing exploitation of the wilderness by oil and mining interests, as well as by the tourist industry. Abbey's observations and challenges remain as relevant now as the day he wrote them. Today, Desert Solitaire asks if any of our incalculable natural treasures can be saved before the bulldozers strike again.

No library descriptions found.

Book description
Haiku summary
Abbey tells, his way.
Desert, lifeforms, water, rock.
Opinions, of course!

(twojcik)

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