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Hardcover All the Wild & Lonely Places: Journeys in a Desert Landscape Book

ISBN: 1559636513

ISBN13: 9781559636513

All the Wild & Lonely Places: Journeys in a Desert Landscape

The Anza-Borrego Desert, on the southern border of California, is the subject of this portrait of place. Journalist Hogue describes Anza-Borrego and the people who have lived there, including the... This description may be from another edition of this product.


Format: Hardcover

Condition: Very Good*

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Customer Reviews

4 ratings

Beautifully written, illustrated and diversely fascinating.

I enjoyed getting to know more of the culture and practices (both past and present) of area Native American groups: the Kumeyaay, Cahuilla and more briefly other groups in the Baja and SoCal area. The case is made repeatedly for an inclusive view of a desert "wilderness" as more than just a park untouched/left alone, but skillfully stewarded by the desert's first human inhabitants.

Must-read for Californians

There must be more biomass contained in the paper that makes up all the copies of all the books in print about the American desert than there is left in the same desert. A decade after his pancreas gave out, Ed Abbey's books fairly fly off the shelves. Terry Tempest Williams seems to come out with a new book every several months. From lyrical evocations of some guy's weekend hikes in the Superstitions to the yearly raft of new books on running the Colorado, a legion of tomes from the masterful to the mediocre seems to have said just about everything there is to say about the hyper-arid west. Nonetheless, new titles seem to hit the shelves every time you turn around. If John the Baptist had come out of the wilderness into a modern writers' workshop, I do believe he would have been contracted, in print and remaindered before the last locust leg stopped twitching in his beard. In a less crowded field, Lawrence Hogue's All The Wild and Lonely Places; Journeys in a Desert Landscape might have attracted the attention it deserves when it came out in 2000. It's fairly popular in the San Diego area, which makes sense, given that most of the action takes place within sight of Anza-Borrego State Park. But I've not seen it in nature bookstores north of Mount San Jacinto. That's a shame, for Hogue has offered up an intensely important book, relevant far outside the sun-drenched confines of San Diego and Imperial counties. All the Wild and Lonely Places may appear to be a collection of musings by a veteran desert hiker - and it is, one of the most appealing such in some time - but it's also a stealth polemic. It's not much of a stretch to call Hogue's work one of the most important books of the last decade on California's environment. That's not to say the book isn't a pleasant, diverting read: it is amply so. Hogue's matter-of-fact voice and intimate familiarity with the land are refreshing, and he doesn't spend a lot of time using the desert as an excuse for introspection. Rather, he spends his time (and ours) trying to find out just how the Anza-Borrego area came to be the way it is. A quick tour of the land's tectonic origins and botanic paleontology sets the stage for the subject in which the book finds its true strength: the history of human interactions with - and attitudes about - the land. European colonizers brought much more than cattle, cholera and Christianity to California when they arrived here: they also brought with them a distinct collection of attitudes about wilderness. Originally a negative, fearful abstraction whose sole value lay in the resources that could be civilized out of it, wilderness was partly redefined by nineteenth and twentieth century environmentalists into a source of inspiration, communion, meaning. Other than the signs at the boundary fence, there's not much to distinguish the new, benevolent wilderness from the menacing version feared by our great great great grandparents. Both are valuable for what can be taken awa

Almost all I ever wanted to know

Vastly expanded my consciousness regarding the desert I love. A beautifully written book based on a tremendous amount of personal experience, research, and soul searching.

Not too much, not too little

A near-perfect blend of anthropology, geology, human and natural history, it is the thorough overview of the Anza-Borrego Desert that I was looking for. There is no preaching or strong advocacy for either conservation or exploitation of the region, but rather a balanced presentation of the various viewpoints of a surprisingly large number of stakeholders. The easy-going tone and pacing make for an enjoyable read. There is a storytelling quality about the writing that drew and held my attention firmly but pleasantly. There was enough technical detail to flesh out the themes but not so much detail that I felt overwhelmed. The only exception was the chapter on the Salton Sea which included, perhaps necessarily, quite a bit of information on past and current politics regarding the handling of this unique area. While there were parts of the book that challenged my previous impression of the desert as "untouched" and "pristine" - and made me wonder if I really wanted that impression challenged - ultimately my attraction to the desert became more informed, not spoiled.
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