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The Hour of Land

A Personal Topography of America's National Parks
Narrated by: Terry Williams
Length: 11 hrs and 1 min
4.5 out of 5 stars (191 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

For years, America's national parks have provided public breathing spaces in a world in which such spaces are steadily disappearing, which is why close to 300 million people visit the parks each year. Now, to honor the centennial of the National Park Service, Terry Tempest Williams, the author of the beloved memoir When Women Were Birds, returns with The Hour of Land, a literary celebration of our national parks, what they mean to us, and what we mean to them.

Through 12 carefully chosen parks, from Yellowstone in Wyoming to Acadia in Maine to Big Bend in Texas, Tempest Williams creates a series of lyrical portraits that illuminate the unique grandeur of each place while delving into what it means to shape a landscape with its own evolutionary history into something of our own making. Part memoir, part natural history, and part social critique, The Hour of Land is a meditation and manifesto on why wild lands matter to the soul of America. Our national parks stand at the intersection of humanity and wildness, and there's no one better than Tempest Williams to guide us there.

©2016 Terry Tempest Williams (P)2016 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"[T]his is a uniquely evocative, illuminating, profound, poignant, beautiful, courageous, and clarion book about the true significance of our national parks." ( Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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Cultural Cross Sections

This book needs to be adopted as required reading up among the ranks with Abbey, Carson, Leopold, Powell, and too many other great American authors who advocate for the necessary preservation of our cultures last stand for wholesome connectivity. A simply fantastic read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Laborious

This work is truly an enterprise of self indulgence. Don’t get me wrong. I actually have a lot of respect for the author. I appreciated her contributions to Ken Burns documentary. I very much appreciate her politics and love for the natural beauty of the parks. But, overall the peace is hard to listen to because she apparently insisted on narrating it herself. Her voice is deep and interesting but her overall mood is so heavy and serious. It is heavy and serious in sections where perhaps it should be a little wider. It seems to me that she takes her self very seriously if not crossing the line into self righteousness. I feel pressured to care about her family and her relationship with her father as much as she does. I felt like some of the details and idiosyncrasies actually disrupted the narrative. I’m sure others Disagree with this. But, overall the work was difficult for me to get through. In fact I haven’t even finished. About three hours to go.

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Amazing

Ed Abbey multiplied by infinity. Williams gives a proud voice to a nature silenced by economic growth. Our national parks are relics that could slip away as forgotten treasure if aren't paying attention. Williams helps bring our focus back to what is important.....wild spaces.

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Powerful

TTW knows how to speak softly and carry three big sticks of research, passion, and empathy. Beware, though; her soft voice and compelling narrative could activate the most latent activists for our national parks. Thank you, Ms. Tempest.

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Moving

I love hearing Terry Tempest Williams tell of her experiences in the national parks. Each has motivated me to get out and create my own experiences and share them with those around me. The book left me wanting more.

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She knows a lot!

Ms. Williams has had a surprising life that has taken her many places. She fuses her personal experiences with those of a broad set of celebrated acquaintances. An interesting blend of history, spirituality and environmental advocacy. Worth hearing

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Awful

The writing is poor, the story had the possibility of being great if it was about the parks more than the authors thoughts and family comments. It is unreadable and I'm listenable
Lastly this author should not have been the reader. Her voice puts one to sleep.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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For lovers of national parks, this book is for you

If you are passionate about national parks and protection of our natural assets in the US, you should love this book. I enjoyed some chapters more than others. The ones in which Terry gave some history, some personal stories, etc were great but some of the others were too preachy. She is a beautiful writer though.

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Best audio book I've ever experienced.

What did you love best about The Hour of Land?

The writing - Terry's words ring true in an incredibly poetic way

What did you like best about this story?

The emotional journey through so many places with different formats in each chapter.

Which character – as performed by Terry Williams – was your favorite?

Her father - at Big Bend and the superintendent that led them through the park.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Awe is the moment when ego surrenders to wonder.

Any additional comments?

This book is especially important to anyone who loves and wants to protect our environment.

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Wonderful and thought provoking

The acclaimed naturalist and environmental activist, Terry Tempest William, visits some of our national parks and explores their meaning for her own life and for our society, culture and future. This book has many sub-stories and contains a call for action, not just for our protected and sometimes threatened public places, but for our wondrous and fragile planet.