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Savage Dreams: A Journey into the Landscape Wars of the American West Paperback – 21 Mar 2000


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Paperback, 21 Mar 2000
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Review

"The product of a stunningly original and expansive imagination, "Savage Dreams ties together the histories of Yosemite National Park and the Nevada Test Site . . . to illuminate the political stakes of how we think about, and act upon, the landscape."--"SF Weekly

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"A beautiful, absorbing, tragic book. . . . Rebecca Solnit tells this story with the passion and clarity it deserves."Larry McMurtry
The product of a stunningly original and expansive imagination. Savage Dreams ties together the histories of Yosemite National Park and the Nevada Test Site to illuminate the political stakes of how we think about, and act upon, the landscape. "SF Weekly"
"Savage Dreams summons us to the campfires of resistance."Mike Davis, author of City of Quartz
"Savage Dreams is about many things: despoliation and restoration, finding a voice between contemporary noise and silence, making friends and enemies. Most of all, though, it may be about a journey into history: about how understanding history and making it are not really very different."Greil Marcus, author of Lipstick Traces
"A wonderful and important book, weaving past and present, politics and spirituality, land and history, pleasure and outrage, esthetics and activism, into a map where we as Americans find ourselves today. Intellectually challenging but beautifully written and eminently readable, Savage Dreams has both heart and teeth." Lucy Lippard, author of Overlay: Contemporary Art and the Art of Prehistory" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: HASH(0x97aaec30) out of 5 stars 12 reviews
26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ca066fc) out of 5 stars A thrilling excursion into the heart of the West 18 May 2004
By Stephen J. Zeoli - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
If you have an open and inquisitive mind, no matter what your political outlook, you will enjoy this exploration of western America and our relationship with this unique landscape. Solnit weaves discussions about the settlement of the west by Euro-Americans, native American rights, nuclear testing, and other critical issues, with ruminations about H.D. Thoreau, John Muir, country music, landscape painters, and other intriguing topics. This is an excellent book about an important subject that will delight you if you let it.
30 of 35 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ca06750) out of 5 stars No romanticism here 5 Feb. 2000
By olentgy@aol.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Solnit's juxtaposition of the insidious nuclear poisoning of Nevada to the making of Yosemite National Park (that she shows has been "loved to death" since it was first discovered by whites more than 150 years ago)makes this book a must for all environmentalists. Solnit deals directly with themes of conquest and redemption in historic efforts to both tame and use these lands. Readers gain specific understanding about two places that are, after all, national icons. However, the deeper themes so well-developed in this book are being played out no less dramtically all across the country.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x97d64e64) out of 5 stars The Other Reviews Are Not About The Book 2 Mar. 2007
By Larry Darnell - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Wow, take a moment to read the other reviews of this book.

I picked this book up off a bargain table, and months later happened to take it with me when I was visiting Yosemite without knowing 1/2 the book was about Yosemite. That was kind of a thrill.

Solnit's historical and writing skills, her ability to build a world stage of activity and its interconnectedness with her narrative are extraordinary.

As a landscape artist and photographer, I find this book to be a great resource. Understanding the history of Yosemite is frankly consciousness shifting.

As the other reviewer says, nuclear weapons are our oyster.

Indians, big bangs, Central Park, Fremont and the Heart of Darkness. How about that.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ca069d8) out of 5 stars Beautifully written, honestly felt 18 May 2011
By Mary Sheeran - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I read this book about ten years ago - found it at Yosemite - and loved how it knit together what for me had been a disturbing gap in the history they tell (and I think try to re-tell, at the park). My research into California Indians supports her understanding that the native would simply vanish into the wilderness, disappear. Except that they did not. Juxtaposing this history with that of the nuclear theme connects the history of a land in Nevada that is presumed lifeless, except that there has been so much life there for thousands of years. Unseen life. Invisible.

A second reading, which I just did, underlines the beautiful and clear descriptive prose.

It's a wonderful book. Judging from the reviews, it completely bewilders and scares those who are unfamiliar with the Christian faith and who think all this stuff is pagan. (The Christian church is the primary holder of the pagan traditions. But don't get me started...)
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
HASH(0x9ca06c18) out of 5 stars Gave me a lot to think about... 6 Feb. 2013
By Robert McPhee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Reading a Rebecca Solnit book is like paling around for a day with an extremely intelligent, curious person. In this book, Solnit weaves her experiences with anti-nuclear protesters in Nevada with her attempt to uncover the real history of Yosemite Valley and Yosemite National Park, with emphasis on Yosemite's native American past. On the way she muses about the history of landscape viewing, the beauties of the Great Basin, how the national attitude toward the wilderness has changed over the years, and about a hundred other topics. This book was a pleasure to read and gave me much to think about.
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