All the Wild That Remains

All the Wild That Remains

Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner, and the American West

Book - 2015
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"Archetypal wild man Edward Abbey and proper, dedicated Wallace Stegner left their footprints all over the western landscape. Now, ... nature writer David Gessner follows the ghosts of these two remarkable writer-environmentalists from Stegner's birthplace in Saskatchewan to the site of Abbey's pilgrimages to Arches National Park in Utah, braiding their stories and asking how they speak to the lives of all those who care about the West"--Dust jacket flap.
Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton & Company, [2015]
Edition: First edition
Copyright Date: ©2015
ISBN: 9780393089998
Branch Call Number: 363.7009 GESSNER
Characteristics: 354 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm


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Sep 18, 2015

David Gessner uses a road trip to visit locations in the West critical to the two iconic western writers while visiting his own past as a student at the University of Colorado. Before he left he read and re-read their work and asked questions relevant to today's concerns with climate change, water and resource use, i.e. fracking.
The book is part homage, part environmental wake-up call and part personal memoir. It was hard to pin down the author’s purpose or what he was expecting his readers to get. I consider myself an environmentalist. I’m a big fan of Wallace Stegner’s, less so Edward Abbey. A little disappointed.

Jun 23, 2015

On the surface Edward Abbey and Wallace Stegner don't seem to have much in common. Abbey was a free-spirited wild man who channeled Thoreau (with a lot more sex and drinking), hated authority, and inspired radical environmental movements. Stegner was respectable, reserved, and incredibly hard working, putting out both books of fiction ("Angle of Repose") and non-fiction (books about the Mormons and John Wesley Powell). Their paths crossed briefly when Abbey was a writing student of Stegner's, but they both shared a deep love of nature, were strong defenders of the environment, and made their homes in the West, which was the subject of many of their books. David Gessner's book is part travelogue and part biography. He explores the land they wrote about, talks to some people that knew them, and talks about their lives, particularly their concern for the environment and their exploration of both the mythic and the actual West. Gessner inserts too much of himself into the book, but he's picked fascinating subjects and you'll come away with a better sense of both men. Most importantly, you'll want to read their books.


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