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Paperback Brave New West: Morphing Moab at the Speed of Greed Book

ISBN: 0816524742

ISBN13: 9780816524747

Brave New West: Morphing Moab at the Speed of Greed

When Jim Stiles moved west from Kentucky in the 1970s to make Moab, Utah, his home, that corner of the rural West had already endured decades of obscurity, a uranium boom and then a bust, and was... This description may be from another edition of this product.


Format: Paperback

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Customer Reviews

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Great history and opinions about Moab

Having previously lived in Moab and some of the time reviewed by this creative reader, I enjoyed reading his take on the slow destruction of the quiet and seldom visited area, that has become a nightmare of tourist traps and consumption. He is right on and wish everyone from Moab or fans of the area would read.

The book that nobody wants to talk about

Brave New West Morphing Moab at the Speed of Greed Jim Stiles 2007 University of Arizona Press paperback 260 pages "A remark generally hurts in proportion to its truth." -Will Rogers Events since the publication of Jim Stiles' Brave New West, remind us that the truth does indeed hurt. From the not yet deflated real estate bubble to the ongoing commercialization of public lands and now the awareness of global scale capital influencing our favorite environmental organizations, we're challenged to rethink much about ourselves. Unaffordable real estate and property taxes, the loss of a small town and rural ways of life, adventure tourism on public lands, the loss of wildlife and wilderness, and perhaps most worrisome, the loss of our ability to value the natural world as it is, and for what it is, are all documented in Brave New West as impacts of an amenities boom that swallowed Moab, Utah over the last 20 years. Along the way, we're inspired by the story of what happens when one man seriously questions the worldview that everyone else around him has staked their livelihood on. Brave New West takes us on a journey back to Stiles' long ago adopted home town, at the end of an era. Old West Moab's uranium bust hit bottom just about the time Jim left the Park Service after a decade at nearby Arches National Park. Jumping through his only window of opportunity, he scraped together a down payment on a tiny house in town that would become his "ringside seat for the knockout blow to come". Less than two years later, on the very day that his friend and mentor Edward Abbey died in 1989, Stiles' alternative view Canyon Country Zephyr was born. As it happened, economically desperate Moab was just entering into its love affair with amenities and endless growth, and from the start the Zephyr was there, reliably raising the red flag. Now almost 20 years later, National Public Radio and High Country News recently produced separate features on the amenities economies of northern Arizona and western Colorado. While those stories gave wider audiences a chance to think about how skyrocketing real estate tears communities apart, we don't have to imagine the perspective of the man still holding his tattered red flag: "New Westerners claim that the uncontrolled growth of the amenities economy is out of their hands, that market forces and the whims of American culture are driving the New West, not them. As one Utah environmentalist said defensively, 'It would have happened anyway.' In effect New Westerners now refuse to take credit for the extraordinary success of the very economy they claimed would save the West. They actually distance themselves from the solution they continue to promote. Every ATV rally, every new convenience store, every condo development, every golf course, every four-star restaurant in a town with a population of 5000 is an extension of the amenities economy." For its first decade, the Zephyr was effectively the voice of environmen

Ed Abbey Lives - thanks Jim!

I met Jim Stiles years ago, when he was still rangering at Arches. I was one of those Abbey-seekers who had made a pilgrimage to Moab and Arches after reading Desert Solitaire ( this was September 1980, just before Reagan was elected and Everything changed ). I had found the site of Abbey's trailer, and his rusted septic tank and drainfield pipe. I had taken off my clothes and stood atop a rock to salute, as I recall, the spirit of everything Ed had written about. Ranger Jim came across this scene and said, understandably, "What the hell are you doing?". Well he was very civil and decent about it all. He confirmed I had found the sacred trailer site - heck, he even gave me a t-shirt with his infamous "Glen Canyon Damn" picture ( I still have it!). Over the years I have enjoyed Jim's writings, and it is great to finally see him put it all in a book. Stiles definitely has the burr under his saddle that Abbey had, and it powers his prose better than most other "nature" writers in the 18 years we've been without Ed. I wish he'd write a novel, because I think he could bring the Monkey Wrench Gang into the 21st century, something we badly need. I was in Moab, like I said, in 1980, and then again in 2003. Both times I ventured there in a VW Squareback ( Tradition!). I will admit that Moab was a LOT different 23 years later, though my teenage son and I still had a great visit. Christ it was hot! ( It was July, after all, with daytime temperatures as high as 116 degrees.) We explored Arches in the early-morning hours, swam and rafted in the hot afternoon ( and if that wasn't Pure Bliss I don't know what is ) and enjoyed good food and drink and an air-conditioned motel room in the evening. Moab is still a great place to visit, even if you are a low-impact non-biking non-jeeping old Abbey fan like me. Even on this second visit in 2003 I visited Ed's trailer site and easily found the septic tank and rusted pipe again, pretty much exactly as I had found it 23 years earlier. This time, however, I didn't take off my clothes, but instead read aloud the first chapter from Desert Solitaire to the land, to the place that inspired Ed to write his great book so long ago. No one was there ( in body at least ) but me. The timeless beauty and power of that place was - and, thankfully, still is - a real presence in the absolute quiet of that early morning. Thanks for the great book, Jim. I hope it does well. Write on, brother. Write on.

The Future Of The West Is At Stake

Anyone who lives in a small, rural Western town, or anyone contemplating moving to, or, worse yet, just buying property in a small, rural Western town, definitely needs to read this book. Stiles paints an unflinchingly accurate picture of how the tiny town of Moab became a crowded tourist town filled with fast-food joints and chain hotels. Longtime small business owners were forced out by the giant chain stores and T-shirt shops catering to out-of-town mountain bikers, Jeepers and ATVers. Alfalfa fields and orchards were sold to developers, who slapped up condos and luxury homes for mostly absentee owners, and conservative locals swamped by lycra-clad city dwellers. It's a sad and harsh reality, but Stiles manages quite a few laugh-out-loud moments: comedy is usually funny because it is so true. The reason the book is important is that this phenomenon is repeating itself throughout the Western United States. Often local residents who may only make about $20,000 a year can no longer afford to live in the towns occupied by their families for generations. City dwellers take the equity from their city properties and invest it in rural land, driving prices out of sight, then bring their sharply different lifestyles to rural towns. Most environmental groups have been completely silent on these issues, even as millions of new hikers trample the scenery into oblivion. Why? Perhaps because those same hikers and even some developers contribute hefty dollars to enviro groups. So while oil and gas companies contribute to the Bush administration, which then allows drilling on sensitive lands, environmental groups are running afoul of the same money trap--an ironic twist. Of course the agent driving these ever-growing problems is our ever-expanding population, and Stiles is one of the few to tackle this problem publicly. Why can't our leaders even talk about this? If you live in a small Western town, read this book, discuss it with your neighbors, and work with your local government to try and prevent this from happening to you. If you are a city dweller contemplating a relocation or second-home purchase in a rural town, read this book and rethink your move. If you must move there, then stay there, work there, live there, don't build a giant mansion, be sensitive to the locals, try to get to know them. If you want their way of life, then LIVE IT, don't push your lifestyle onto them.

The West Under Seige

This is a GREAT book. Tracing the growth of Moab, Jim Stiles has the huevos to take a long, cold look at what is happening in the Great American West. He has watched Moab (and, by extension, many other small Western towns) sucumb to carpet baggers, dirt pimps, speculators and, the cruelest irony of all, hoardes of nature-loving tourists encouraged by the "amenities economy". Stiles takes on his friends as well as his enemies, and accuses enviromental groups of rolling over and playing dead while thousands of mountain bikers ride over their limp, unprotesting bodies on the way to Adventure Paradise. Stiles is neither a whiner nor a lamenter, and he shakes his fist at what he calls "enviropreneurs" out to make big bucks off public land. Commercialized nature theme parks are the future of the West, Stiles claims, reminding us of the debt we owe Edward Abbey when he coined the phrase "industrial tourism". Abbey was Stiles' mentor and friend. Jim Stiles is a lively, accomplished writer, so this bitter pill is not too hard to swallow. Just be careful you don't choke while laughing out loud. Stiles is a very funny man and that's a good thing in these circumstances.
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