Desert Solitaire

Desert Solitaire

eBook - 2011
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First published in 1968, Desert Solitaire is one of Edward Abbey's most critically acclaimed works and marks his first foray into the world of nonfiction writing. Written while Abbey was working as a ranger at Arches National Park outside of Moab, Utah, Desert Solitaire is a rare view of one man's quest to experience nature in its purest form. Through prose that is by turns passionate and poetic, Abbey reflects on the condition of our remaining wilderness and the future of a civilization that cannot reconcile itself to living in the natural world as well as his own internal struggle with morality. As the world continues its rapid development, Abbey's cry to maintain the natural beauty of the West remains just as relevant today as when this book was written.
Publisher: [S.I.] : RosettaBooks, 2011.
ISBN: 9780795317484
Branch Call Number: Overdrive
Additional Contributors: OverDrive, Inc


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AnnabelleLee27 Apr 30, 2017

I first read and loved this classic some 30 years ago while in my early 20s and working for the National Park Service like the author (although not in such a remote setting or in such an independent manner). To say this book had a tremendous impact on me and my relationship to the natural world would be a tremendous understatement. Abbey's work is a personal, provocative, poetic, and passionate ode to desert wilderness which rings as true today as it did then (the book was originally published in 1968).
Some of Abbey's assumptions, however, have not aged well and I find his perspective to be colored by the unexamined white male privilege of his time. His views regarding other cultures and of women in general are cringe-worthy and frustrating. That being said, I still find that most of his larger ideas and philosophies are still relatable and deeply relevant in today's world. This beloved book is like a visit with a dear old friend whom I find energizing, challenging, sometimes infuriating, but always inspiring!

Edward Abbey spent summers in the 1950s and 1960s working alone at Arches National Park. The idea he presents about preserving and appreciating nature are still relevant! It might make you a little sad, especially with his story about rafting down Glen Canyon before it was dammed, but overall, it's enlightening, funny and will inspire you to go on your own desert adventure. Recommended by Sarah

NYPLRecommends Sep 04, 2014

NYPL Staff PIck
Ever wanted to live three hot summer months in the desert of Arches National Monument or look for a legendary moon eyed horse that escaped a decade ago. Did they dam Glen Canyon before you could raft down the glittering Colorado River? Join Edward Abbey, an early Park Ranger for Arches in the 60’s as he takes you through his 3 months of adventures in cow country, teaches you a few things about desert wildlife, and sparks a deep love for this beautifully dry and often overlooked area of the U.S.
- Jaqueline Woolcott, AskNYPL

Erin_C_Carr Oct 05, 2012

Abbey is a little crazy, and a bit extreme in his ideas, but hell he's amazing, funny and smart. Moab has always had a special and large place in my heart and this book has a place right next to it. The ideas Abbey expresses in Desert Solitare are still relevant, now more then ever if you ask me. He makes his points in a lovely story of his summer working in Arches National Park (which anyone could be envious of). READ THIS BOOK! It will change your life.

Apr 12, 2011

I've been a lifelong reader and this book is my number one favorite. I grew up in Az and Utah and this book just...its just awesome. I read it over and over again. Love it.


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AskNYPL Jul 30, 2014

“A crude meal, no doubt, but the best of all sauces is hunger.”

AskNYPL Jul 30, 2014

“If my decomposing carcass helps nourish the roots of a juniper tree or the wings of a vulture—that is immortality enough for me. And as much as anyone deserves.”


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