Desert Solitaire

A Season in the Wilderness
by Edward Abbey

This is one of those books that I devoured in a mere two days, wondering why in the world I\’d never opened it before. Desert Solitaire is a collection of writings Edward Abbey penned about time he spent as a park ranger in Arches National Monument, a spectacular desert near Moab, Utah. Sandstone cliffs, winding gullies and canyons, fantastic formations erosion has created out of rock. Spiny and sinister fauna and flora, amazing sunsets, brutal heat and chill nights…. but not all of his words are about the beauty and strangeness of the desert wilds. He writes about working as a park ranger, frustrations with tourists, searching for lost hikers, railing against litter and waste and development which (in his opinion) spoils the wilderness. He describes days spent gathering range cattle on horseback, exploring the beautiful Glen Canyon right before it was doomed to be drowned by a dam, visiting the depths of the Havasu (whose people I met once before in a book called People of the Blue Water), and an encounter with a runaway horse that had lived alone in the desert for ten years. He muses on the plight of the impoverished Navajo, the place of national parks in the nation\’s consciousness, and the importance of solitude and wide-open spaces for the health of one\’s soul. Abbey has lots of strong opinions, and delivers them in a frank, blustering fashion that is at the same time poetic and humorous. I was sometimes taken aback by his sentiment, and I know this is one of his tamer books, too. (I have yet to read The Monkey Wrench Gang but it\’s on my list now). Even though I don\’t agree with all of his radical opinions on how to keep wilderness pristine, I find his voice so fresh and invigorating, so unique and lively, that I can\’t wait to read more of his works.

Another book I read for the TBR Challenge

Rating: 4/5                     269 pages, 1968

More opinions at:
Blogging for a Good Book
Sapphoq reviews books
Laurisa and Samara\’s Reading Blizzard

9 Responses

  1. Moab?? It's definitely going on my list. I desperately want to go to Moab but my husband has already been so it isn't high on his list (my grandmother grew up in a small town outside there). And a book you devoured in two days? Can't beat that!

  2. This sounds fascinating. I can understand how someone might disagree with some of his views (people constantly seem to disagree about these topics, so it's not surprising) but this sounds so interesting. I'd like to hear his views on the matters of littering and development; I'd definitely like to read this.

  3. I thought I owned this! But I can't find it, so on my TBR list it goes! Point to you, Jeane! And I love your new header, by the way. Very very cute. I love your review. my mother fell in love with the desert years ago, and while I love water, and trees, I can see what the wide open spaces does for breath for the soul. Thanks for a superb review, Jeane!

  4. I've started the Monkey Wrench Gang twice, but haven't finished it. The radical point of view wearies me, but you make some good points here about the strengths of Abbey's writing. It makes me want to try again.

  5. When I worked in a bookstore this was always a very popular book and strong seller, but I never had an interest in it. I think I would like to read it now (strange how tastes change over time), so I am adding it to my wishlist. I need to read more nature books.

  6. Trish- It's great. Not so many descriptions of Moab itself, but lots of the surrounding country.Bermudaonion- The place was pretty pristine when he was there. I can't imagine what it's like now, with so many more tourists (exactly what he argued against).Anonymous Child- I agreed a lot with his ideas of what ought to be done, but now how he would go about doing them. They were just kind of- extreme measures, sometimes. Maybe he felt nothing else would be effective.Susan- Thank you, Susan. I do think you'll like this book. It's fascintaing, and has such a vivid feel of the desert. Not a place I like to go- too hot and dry for me- but I love visiting it via a book.Janet- Monkey Wrench too radical? It might weary me, too!Maggie- I think I would have liked reading this in school. It's got lots of food for thought, but not too boring.Danielle- My reading tastes have changed a lot as I've gotten older, too. A lot of books I would have passed up when younger I'm now interested in, and I even go back and read books I disliked as a teen, to see if they suit me better now.

  7. My husband and I both loved this book. I was aghast at him carrying that snake around inside his shirt but everything the man said or did was certainly interesting. I'm glad to see it still being read and reviewed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

DISCLAIMER:

All books reviewed on this site are owned by me, or borrowed from the public library. Exceptions are a very occasional review copy sent to me by a publisher or author, as noted. Receiving a book does not influence my opinion or evaluation of it

SUBSCRIBE VIA EMAIL:

Subscribe to my blog:

We don’t spam! Read our privacy policy for more info.

VIEW MY PERSONAL COLLECTION:

TRADE BOOKS WITH ME ON:

ARCHIVES: 

2023
January 2023 (27)February 2023 (2)
2022
January 2022 (12)February 2022 (7)March 2022 (13)April 2022 (16)May 2022 (13)June 2022 (21)July 2022 (15)August 2022 (27)September 2022 (10)October 2022 (17)November 2022 (16)December 2022 (23)
2021
January 2021 (14)February 2021 (13)March 2021 (14)April 2021 (7)May 2021 (10)June 2021 (5)July 2021 (10)August 2021 (27)September 2021 (16)October 2021 (11)November 2021 (14)December 2021 (12)
2020
January 2020 (14)February 2020 (6)March 2020 (10)April 2020 (1)May 2020 (10)June 2020 (15)July 2020 (13)August 2020 (26)September 2020 (10)October 2020 (9)November 2020 (16)December 2020 (22)
2019
January 2019 (12)February 2019 (9)March 2019 (5)April 2019 (10)May 2019 (9)June 2019 (6)July 2019 (18)August 2019 (13)September 2019 (13)October 2019 (7)November 2019 (5)December 2019 (18)
2018
January 2018 (17)February 2018 (18)March 2018 (9)April 2018 (9)May 2018 (6)June 2018 (21)July 2018 (12)August 2018 (7)September 2018 (13)October 2018 (15)November 2018 (10)December 2018 (13)
2017
January 2017 (19)February 2017 (12)March 2017 (7)April 2017 (4)May 2017 (5)June 2017 (8)July 2017 (13)August 2017 (17)September 2017 (12)October 2017 (15)November 2017 (14)December 2017 (11)
2016
January 2016 (5)February 2016 (14)March 2016 (5)April 2016 (6)May 2016 (14)June 2016 (12)July 2016 (11)August 2016 (11)September 2016 (11)October 2016 (9)November 2016 (1)December 2016 (3)
2015
January 2015 (9)February 2015 (9)March 2015 (11)April 2015 (10)May 2015 (10)June 2015 (2)July 2015 (12)August 2015 (13)September 2015 (16)October 2015 (13)November 2015 (10)December 2015 (14)
2014
January 2014 (14)February 2014 (11)March 2014 (5)April 2014 (15)May 2014 (12)June 2014 (17)July 2014 (22)August 2014 (19)September 2014 (10)October 2014 (19)November 2014 (14)December 2014 (14)
2013
January 2013 (25)February 2013 (28)March 2013 (18)April 2013 (21)May 2013 (12)June 2013 (7)July 2013 (13)August 2013 (25)September 2013 (24)October 2013 (17)November 2013 (18)December 2013 (20)
2012
January 2012 (21)February 2012 (19)March 2012 (9)April 2012 (23)May 2012 (31)June 2012 (21)July 2012 (19)August 2012 (16)September 2012 (4)October 2012 (2)November 2012 (7)December 2012 (19)
2011
January 2011 (26)February 2011 (22)March 2011 (18)April 2011 (11)May 2011 (6)June 2011 (7)July 2011 (10)August 2011 (9)September 2011 (14)October 2011 (13)November 2011 (15)December 2011 (22)
2010
January 2010 (27)February 2010 (19)March 2010 (20)April 2010 (24)May 2010 (22)June 2010 (24)July 2010 (31)August 2010 (17)September 2010 (18)October 2010 (11)November 2010 (13)December 2010 (19)
2009
January 2009 (23)February 2009 (26)March 2009 (32)April 2009 (22)May 2009 (18)June 2009 (26)July 2009 (34)August 2009 (31)September 2009 (30)October 2009 (23)November 2009 (26)December 2009 (18)
2008
January 2008 (35)February 2008 (26)March 2008 (33)April 2008 (15)May 2008 (29)June 2008 (29)July 2008 (29)August 2008 (34)September 2008 (29)October 2008 (27)November 2008 (27)December 2008 (24)
2007
August 2007 (12)September 2007 (28)October 2007 (27)November 2007 (28)December 2007 (14)
2006
2005
2004
2003
2002
2001
2000
1999
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1991
1990
1989
1988
1987
1986
1985
1984
1983
1982
1981
1980
1979
1978
1977
1976
1975
1974
1973
1972
1971
1970
1969
1968
1967
1966
1965
1964
1963
1962
1961
1960
1959
1958
1957
1956
1955
1954
1953
1952
1951
1950