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Desert Solitaire von Edward Abbey
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Desert Solitaire (Original 1968; 1990. Auflage)

von Edward Abbey (Autor)

MitgliederRezensionenBeliebtheitDurchschnittliche BewertungDiskussionen
3,419762,952 (4.23)119
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.… (mehr)
Mitglied:riprapper
Titel:Desert Solitaire
Autoren:Edward Abbey (Autor)
Info:Touchstone (1990), 288 pages
Sammlungen:Deine Bibliothek
Bewertung:
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Desert Solitaire von Edward Abbey (1968)

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This book made me thirsty. ( )
  et.carole | Jan 21, 2022 |
Abbey is a master of prose. He's what I think Montgomery envisioned when she wrote John Foster into her book [b:The Blue Castle|95693|The Blue Castle|L.M. Montgomery|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1442108651s/95693.jpg|1298683]. That being said, I can't write reams of praise. His sometimes snarky, irreverent, and supercilious tone grates on my poor reverent nerves. ( )
  OutOfTheBestBooks | Sep 24, 2021 |
A rather typical collection of the sort of rambling reflections and anecdotes that seems to be the purview of a certain kind of somewhat crusty older man of a certain generation that you either enjoy despite itself, or don't, depending on your tolerances for and infatuation with that exact kind of author. ( )
  Jannes | Aug 30, 2021 |
Imagine what Edward Abby would have to say if he were still alive to see what humankind has further wrought.

In not having read this particular book of Abbey's before, I've shortchanged my reading experience. To me, his narrative in Desert Solitaire is befitting the setting, at once harsh and lulling, even hauntingly poetic with discordant notes. If you discern the writing's undercurrent, you may also feel its poignancy.

In this book, the best of his writing to my mind even if a little drawn out, he is more in touch with the paradoxes of the natural world than many can countenance. It is also a Nature book, pleasurable for those that can visualize the detailed settings, especially those that have alone and on foot previously experienced the awe of true wilderness.

I have to agree that Edward Abby can come across as intolerant and contemptuous of much of society, which stems from his idealism. A subjective reaction on our part though, where to the objective mind he's often enough on the mark, if abrasively so, in highlighting shortcomings we are loath to admit in ourselves. Sadly, we are for the most part subjective creatures that have followed a path to the brink of disastrous environmental changes, which evidences how lacking we are as judges.

Reading widely serves us best in stimulating critical thinking, and that to me is the real value of this book. One is not required to take as gospel all they read, but a thoughtful, objective mind can assemble the salient pieces of life's sketchy puzzle. Edward Abby serves up a smorgasbord of thoughts, applicable in extension, for the reader's mind to sort through and assimilate.

To those unacquainted with the Southwest, or wishing to recall its beauty, there are ample descriptive passages, such as:

"The cliffrose is practical as well as pretty. Concealed by the flowers at this time are the leaves, small, tough, wax-coated, bitter on the tongue—thus the name quinine bush—but popular just the same among the deer as browse when nothing better is available—buckbrush. The Indians too, a practical people, once used the bark of this plant for sandals, mats and rope, and the Hopi medicine man is said, even today, to mash and cook the leaves as an emetic for his patients."

And, of course, there are passages about the ecological consequences of human ignorance:

"Like the porcupine the deer too become victims of human meddling with the natural scheme of things—not enough coyotes around and the mountain lions close to extinction, the deer have multiplied like rabbits and are eating themselves out of house and home, which means that many each year are condemned to a slow death by starvation."

That paradoxically, so it would seem, together with the acceptance of Nature's model of life continuance, that of life fueled by life:

"We are kindred all of us, killer and victim, predator and prey, me and the sly coyote, the soaring buzzard, the elegant gopher snake, the trembling cottontail, the foul worms that feed on our entrails, all of them, all of us. Long live diversity, long live the earth!"

As to Edward Abby's abrasiveness, how better could we be insulted than with the glaring light of human destructiveness we shield our eyes from? Sawing away at branches of evolution as we are, despite being on one of the branches. Points well made in assessing where the wild places have gone and why. Can the public granted their desires escape anymore the stress and turmoil of the sardine can existence they are trying to leave behind for a while?

"Modern politics is expensive—power follows money.
. . .
"Loop drives are extremely popular with the petroleum industry—they bring the motorist right back to the same gas station from which he started.
. . .
"To all accusations of excessive development the administrators can reply, as they will if pressed hard enough, that they are giving the public what it wants, that their primary duty is to serve the public not preserve the wilds."

Rounding out he book's board stroke there are engaging side stories, a bit of desert survival advice, insights (e.g. "prejudice cultivates prejudice"), and prophesying born out since its writing.

"What reason have we Americans to think that our own society will necessarily escape the world-wide drift toward the totalitarian organization of men and institutions?

"... history demonstrates that personal liberty is a rare and precious thing, that all societies tend toward the absolute until attack from without or collapse from within breaks up the social machine and makes freedom and innovation again possible."

And yes, satirical humor with significant points:

"Paradise is not a garden of bliss and changeless perfection where the lions lie down like lambs (what would they eat?) and the angels and cherubim and seraphim rotate in endless idiotic circles, like clockwork, about an equally inane and ludicrous—however roseate—Unmoved Mover. (Play safe; worship only in clockwise direction; let’s all have fun together.) That particular painted fantasy of a realm beyond time and space which Aristotle and the Church Fathers tried to palm off on us has met, in modern times, only neglect and indifference, passing on into the oblivion it so richly deserved, while the Paradise of which I write and wish to praise is with us yet, the here and now, the actual, tangible, dogmatically real earth on which we stand."


Though this book is in good part studies of the animals, plants, geography, and climate of the region around Arches National Monument, maybe in reading and broadening focus one might glean a better understanding of the value of wilderness.

"Wilderness, wilderness.… We scarcely know what we mean by the term, though the sound of it draws all whose nerves and emotions have not yet been irreparably stunned, deadened, numbed by the caterwauling of commerce, the sweating scramble for profit and domination.

"The word suggests the past and the unknown, the womb of earth from which we all emerged. It means something lost and something still present, something remote and at the same time intimate, something buried in our blood and nerves, something beyond us and without limit."
( )
  LGCullens | Jun 1, 2021 |
This book was written over 50 years ago and documents a summer from 10 years before that. Nevertheless it is an evocation that resonates through the years for me.

The author spent a summer working as a park ranger in (what was then) Arches National Monument near Moa, Utah. I've been in (what is now) Arches National Park; in fact I have visited all of the National Parks in the Utah canyon country, some of them more than once.There are still places in these parks where you can get away from the "tourists" as Abbey referred to them. And the scenery is spectacular. While reading this book I did wish that I had been able to experience those parks as Abbey did. I particularly envy him his trip by inflatable raft down the Colorado River through the area that is now covered by the Glen Canyon Reservoir. The pair floated leisurely down the river stopping when some side canyon caught their fancy or when they wanted to make a meal or have a nap in the heat of noon. It sounds idyllic and it certainly isn't something a person could do now. Abbey didn't have much use for the bureaucrats who wanted to improve the national parks. Essentially that meant providing paved access roads and concession stands and letting the hordes descend on the parks. I can understand why he would want to keep the areas unspoiled but as a person who benefited from those paved access roads I'm sort of glad they went ahead with those plans. However, the hordes that descend on the popular parks like the Grand Canyon and Yellowstone (and Banff and Lake Louise in our country) do take away from the enjoyment of the special areas that were the reason the parks were established. I'm not sure there is a way to have the good access without the crowds although going to these places in the off season can provide some great experiences.

Now I long to return to the US Southwest and feel that desert heat and see those amazing sights. Dare I hope that could happen in 2022? ( )
  gypsysmom | May 20, 2021 |
keine Rezensionen | Rezension hinzufügen

» Andere Autoren hinzufügen (2 möglich)

AutorennameRolleArt des AutorsWerk?Status
Edward AbbeyHauptautoralle Ausgabenberechnet
Hirvi, JussiÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Macfarlane, RobertEinführungCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Mailhos, JacquesÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Mannino, GiovannaÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Ochi, MichioÜbersetzerCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt
Peacock, DougEinführungCo-Autoreinige Ausgabenbestätigt

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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.
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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.

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