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Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness | [Edward Abbey]

Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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.

©1968 Edward Abbey (P)2011 Tantor

What the Critics Say

"Like a ride on a bucking bronco . . . rough, tough, combative. The author is a rebel and an eloquent loner. His is a passionately felt, deeply poetic book . . . set down in a lean, racing prose, in a close-knit style of power and beauty." (The New York Times Book Review)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.4 (210 )
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4.4 (174 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Artin HOUSTON, TEXAS, United States 02-05-13
    Artin HOUSTON, TEXAS, United States 02-05-13 Member Since 2015
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    "An immortal story, narrated beautifully"

    I will disagree with dissenters of Narration, I loved it. I think His narration style was matched very well with Abbey's Character. We were driving in Utah's lonely desert roads, from Arches NP to Cathedral Valley and Edward Abbey's personal presence kept us great company.....
    What a story for lovers of Colorado Plateau; an incredible life described eloquently.

    5 of 5 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Todd 02-06-12
    Todd 02-06-12
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    "Wrong narrator for Abbey"

    I love this book - one of my true favorites - have read the actual book several times before downloading the audio version. I'm also a big fan of Edward Abbey - both his non-fiction and fiction work.

    Unfortunately, Michael Kramer was a poor choice of narrator to capture the real sense of Abbey's prose. I've listened to many of Kramer's narrations of mystery and suspense novels, and he's fine for those. But, unfortunately, all wrong for Desert Solitaire.

    I was disappointed, too, by Kramer's frequent mispronunciations, especially place names, throughout the narrative. Many of the local place names are tricky, I admit, but either the narrator and/or audio editor need to do their research!

    Despite the unfortunate narration, I highly recommend Desert Solitaire. Better the book than this audio version, but better the audio version than not at all.

    17 of 20 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 04-29-12 Member Since 2002
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    "Against the Grain"

    This is Edward Abbey's best book, a chronicle of his work as a park ranger and a love song to the American Desert. Alternately serious and funny, lyrical and preachy, the book is a loosely structured set of stories linked by place, so that the desert becomes a character of its own -- changeable, unforgiving, beautiful.

    Michael Kramer is excellent, clear, nuanced, and well-paced. You get the feeling that you are hearing the author, himself, describing one of his adventures, or repeating a story he has heard.

    A beautiful book, memories slightly tinged with regret, like stories told late at night in a bar, long after the jukebox is quiet.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Charles Maryville, Tennessee, United States 02-20-13
    Charles Maryville, Tennessee, United States 02-20-13 Member Since 2015
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    "you don't know what you've got until it's gone"
    If you could sum up Desert Solitaire in three words, what would they be?

    car culture downside


    What was one of the most memorable moments of Desert Solitaire?

    The trip down Glen Canyon before it was dammed.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    No


    Any additional comments?

    This book will probably appeal more to older people who can remember places and times in their lives that have decidedly changed for the worse. Ed Abbey paints a picture of the old American West before some of the best parts of it were paved over or dammed up. Civilization is not always progress, "developing" land and making it accessible to people who can only travel by automobile is sometimes a grave mistake.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Renae Clark 02-25-13
    Renae Clark 02-25-13
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    "Great way to revisit Ed Abbey's canyon lands."
    Would you consider the audio edition of Desert Solitaire to be better than the print version?

    They are two different media, thus they would be different.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Yes


    Any additional comments?

    Must "read" for any desert rat or lover of the southwest.

    2 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Pamela Kennemore 07-20-15 Member Since 2014
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    "I can almost smell the desert"

    I never heard Abbey talk but Kramer's reading matched the desert so well and matched the emotions of the book so perfectly l am almost afraid to find out what Abbey sounded like for fear of disappointment. Abbey brought the desert alive to me. The descriptions are so visual that I have to forgive the occasional sojourns into railing against society's ills.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Zachary 07-18-15
    Zachary 07-18-15 Member Since 2015
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    "Interesting"

    It's a very interesting book, the writer is very opinionated and straight forward. The narrator was great, easy to lists to. I have to read this for AP English, and I didn't think I would enjoy it, but I do.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    ItsJustMe 06-23-15
    ItsJustMe 06-23-15 Member Since 2014
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    "Head for the hills!!!"

    I geeked out over this book for days. It was a little slow getting going but then turned into amazing story after story. I will always view the desert, American government, tourists, and nature in a slightly different way. Made me want to sell all my crap and move to the desert.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    E. Protzman Midwest U.S. 06-21-15
    E. Protzman Midwest U.S. 06-21-15 Member Since 2014
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    "A big broad view of the west"

    A book that re shaped all my thoughts of the dessert and many of the west. Acerbic, insightful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth 06-20-15
    Elizabeth 06-20-15
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Can Not Believe I Have Never Read This Book...."

    My boyfriend handed me this old yellowed paperback that he has been carrying around for years. I read about ten pages and knew I had to buy the audio version. This book was written in 1968 but the environmental theme is timeless and Mr. Abbey's dry sense of humor left me wishing that the book was longer. Many of the places in Utah where he went hiking are unfortunately gone due to dam building ( Glen Ellen Canyon) or overuse by a growing population (The Arches). "The wilderness is no longer wild" as anyone who loves the outdoors knows but the beauty of the National Parks as they once were will live on in this book. I wish I could put on my hiking shoes and travel back 50 years to the Utah Mr. Abbey enjoyed.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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