Jun 29, 2009

The Journey Home

Some Words in Defense of the American West
by Edward Abbey

This was not as good as Desert Solitaire. It doesn't feel as cohesive, there's not nearly as much nature writing, the descriptions of the desert climate aren't as vivid, the humor began to fall flat with me, and the constant complaints against industrialization and development became tiresome. The Journey Home is still all about southwest desert country- describing parts of Utah, Arizona and the Yosemite Valley, among others. But it's more about the strain that population growth and economic pressures have put upon the natural habitat, than about the habitat itself. While the degradation done to wilderness by strip mining, tourism and suburban sprawl needs to be addressed, the way Abbey went on and on about it in this book got very -well, boring. I would have rather read more about the wildlife and the desert landscape, but that's just me. I found parts of the book describing a season he worked as a fire lookout on a mountaintop in Glacier National Park, and another about a trip he took down the Green River through winding canyons, the most interesting. More difficult to get through were chapters about when he lived in Hoboken with descriptions of New York City, and a strange segment about the author being carried above the desert country by an "angel" in a hawaiian shirt and hiking boots, who pointed out all the pollution that needed cleaning up. Overall an interesting book, which discusses some important environmental issues, but by the end I was just skimming the pages. I don't think I'll read it again. I'm going to look for some different works by Abbey. I like the way he writes, but this one's just not to my reading taste.

Rating: 2/5 ........ 242 pages, 1977

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