The Hour of Land by Terry Tempest Williams

A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks by Terry Tempest Williams

We call basketball players and boxers who never leave their practice and training environments “gym rats”. Terry Tempest Williams is a “national park rat”. In this big book she explores some of the biological, geological, chemical, interpersonal, social, historical, political and spiritual dimensions of the jewels of the American experiment: our national parks. It’s a big, satisfying book, with a soul. There is plenty of observation of birds and animals, of plants and minerals; Williams’ eyes are trained for those natural details. There are also stories that the dry-as-dust naturalist/scientists would never see: the human stories of the employees who tend the parks, of the visitors who experience the parks, of the politicians who write laws effecting the parks, of the spirits of the Native American residents who have been evicted from the parks. In a lyric voice that tells of seeing, touching and listening to the world-preserved and to the myth of the-world-left-alone, Williams tells her own stories in relation to the national parks.

She believes that parks are more important than ever in the current national administrative climate. The hour of the land has come. The parks might save us from ourselves.

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