I have to start by saying if you’ve read Edward Abbey or Wallace Stegner then you might really enjoy this book. If not, you may find yourself wondering why you aren’t reading a book by Abbey or Stegner rather than a book about them. All The Wild That Remains by David Gessner is a book about two of the most famous western environmentalist writers and the land they were working to protect.
I picked up this book mainly for the environmental aspect. Half of the book is David Gessner’s trip through The West, in 2012, exploring the changes that have come about as western populations continue to grow. He focuses most on the oil boom and the reliance on a depleting water supply. The other half of the book is a study of Wallace Stegner and Edward Abbey.
The writers Gessner celebrates represent different ends of the spectrum: Stegner, the disciplined, straightedge workaholic; and Abbey, the wild, rebellious outsider. Despite their differences in personality, they shared a common love for The West and dedicated their writing and lives to defending it. Stegner worked through legal means (close ties to the Sierra Club and other environmental organizations), and Abbey often through less-legal means (destroying the engines of mining machinery with a .357 magnum for example). Gessner get’s a behind-the-scenes look at these two lives through a series of in-person interviews with friends and relatives still alive all over the west.
If you enjoy these writers and share their passion for environmentalism then this is a great read. If you haven’t read either author, you should start by reading Desert Solitaire by Edward Abbey or Big Rock Candy Mountain by Wallace Stegner and you just might be hooked!
All The Wild That Remains by David Gessner available here on amazon.
Written by Kyle Barrett, Founder of Bighorn Apparel
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