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  1. #1

    Default Books about the Desert/Southwest/West?

    (Dear Moderator: not sure where to post this thread? Please move, if required.)


    I recently came across and read 'Desert Solitaire - A Season in the Wilderness' by the US writer Edward Abbey, about his experiences as a seasonal Ranger in the Arches National Park back in the 1950s. With this book, readers of this forum will need to ignore his less-than-complimentary opinions on 'automobiles' and tourism... and his rather strange and outmoded social/political views. But if you can look beyond those, it is a fascinating and wonderful description of the canyon country of the Southwest, for anyone with even a vague interest in the area (myself included, and I've yet to go there - luckily next year I'll get to see it for myself).

    I looked around the books in the RTA shop and couldn't really find anything, so my question is; can any of the members here recommend any other books on the desert/Southwest/West? These could be fictional/memoir/historical/Native American - anything really, as long as they're not just straightforward guide books.

    I realize this is not really a Road Trip question as such, but I would love to read more about these parts before my own trip, so I thought I'd ask if anyone has any recommends.

    Thanks for your time!


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default A couple of suggestions

    You can't go wrong with any of Tony Hillerman's novels -- all set in the desert southwest.

    Nevada Barr is another favorite writer -- she was a NPS ranger for many years and her stories are set in those parks.

    Louis L'Amour wrote an astonishing number of western stories...

    For Non-fiction -- John McPhee is my all-time favorite...

    "Basin and Range" is what many of us of grew-up on -- great text on geology

    "The Control of Nature"

    "Rising From the Plains"

  3. #3


    Mark, thank you very much!

    I will check out all these writers - being European, I haven't heard of any of them. Very interesting.

    Cheers. Subman

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 1998
    Las Vegas, Nevada

    Default I could list another 200 or so...

    Actually, I have dozens of "favorite" books about the southwest on my bookshelf...

    I'm late to a meeting, but when I get back I'll add a few more.


    I was close friends with 4-5 river runners who considered Edward Abbey a close friend -- he was sort of an odd guy. But he could tell great tales -- and more than a few that were never published.... (Some of his tales were based on experiences survived by my friends).

  5. #5


    You know people that knew Abbey?! That's just extraordinary and unbelievably cool! He does come across, in the book, as a very odd guy, and some sort of environmental anarchist I guess. But even so, his passion for this area was quite beautiful to read, especially his experience of Glen Canyon, pre-dam, and the Arches, pre-motorised tourism.

    I can't wait to visit some of the places that he described, even if they'll be a little different (more developed) these days.

    If you have any more book recommends, I'd be very very grateful.

    Thanks. Subman

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