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The Void, Grid & Sign Hardcover – Mar 2000


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Amazon.com: 3 reviews
21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
A quiet masterpiece about deserts 18 Oct. 2000
By dan noyes - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
In this book William Fox writes about maps, the Great Basin desert, Native American Rock Art, ecology, ranchers, the many dimensions of water in the desert, Michael Heizer's landscape projects and history. The book is unique for the tone he strikes and the desert that he writes about. This is a detailed and articulate book that never bogs down.
He writes with a naturalist's eye and a poet's heart. The blurb on the dust jacket compares his writing to Barry Lopez. The comparison is apt and Fox has put together something here I will remember and re-read for a long time to come. He examines why deserts charm us and explores the Great Basin on foot and with eloquence. I loved it from the Introduction to the detailed Bibliography at the end. Read it!
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
equal parts science, philosphy and outback travelogue 18 Mar. 2009
By The Delite Rancher - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Void, The Grid & The Sign: Traversing The Great Basin" is a superb read. The book is composed of three essays, each of which form the book's main title. Each part is a curious weaving of both travelogue and intellectual inquiry. 'The Void' is arguably the book's most important third. The intellectual inquiry examines the way humans perceive the desert. The travelogue component consists of the author's stay at City. City may be the world's largest work of art, currently under construction by earthwork artist Michael Heizer. After establishing the premise of the void, Fox uses the next chapter to describe how people have rationalized and mapped the void. As a travelogue, 'The Grid' documents an interesting trip to the Black Rock Desert with now deceased rock art legend Alvin R. McLane. As an intellectual inquiry, this section looks at the history of cartography. More specifically, Fox documents the mapping of the Great Basin. 'The Sign' features similar themes to those covered in the previous sections and as a travelogue, it continues the author's visits to various petroglyph sites. "The Void, The Grid & The Sign" is an erudite and sometimes dense read that incorporates anthropology, psychology, history, archaeology and biology. Above all, it is a philosophical journey. In addition to a tendency to over-intellectualize, the author is sometimes long-winded and redundant. Either William L. Fox is too smart for his own good or I'm not educated enough to understand all of this work. My guess is that the truth is a little of both. While the Great Basin reaches five states, so much of the book's scope covers Nevada that it is surprising that the title was published through the University of Utah instead of Stephen's or the University of Nevada Press.

On a personal level, I had a few epiphanies reading this book. I enjoyed all three sections but the 'The Void' has forever changed the way I think and feel about the desert. Fox has given me a new vocabulary and insight into the way various people think about the desert and my place in it. Additionally, the author describes how Double Negative (DN) is a smaller scaled predecessor to City. Since City is closed to the public, curiosity brought me out to the remote DN. My visit to the earthwork was epiphanous as both an art and desert experience; it may now be my favorite work of art. This read has put many places onto my Silver State adventure radar. After reading this work, I look forward to reading William L. Fox's other desert books like "In The Desert Of Desire," "The Black Rock Desert" and "Driving by Memory." "The Void, The Grid & The Sign" is a fantastic book for desert rats with a penchant for science and philosophy.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Good book. 10 May 2013
By VinceRN - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book on a several days long exploration of the Great Basin in Nevada and enjoyed in thoroughly.
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