Desert Solitaire

  • by Edward Abbey
  • Narrated by Michael Kramer
  • 11 hrs and 32 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

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.

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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)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

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.
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- Todd

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.
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- Amazon Customer

Book Details

  • Release Date: 12-22-2011
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio