The quintessential American desert - the most visible, the most vulnerable, the most emblematic, and the most misunderstood - is the Mojave. Stretching from the outskirts of Los Angeles to the psychic fringes of Las Vegas, it contains such archetypal American spots as Death Valley, Edwards Air Force Base, Joshua Tree National Park, and the Panamint Mountains (where the forThe quintessential American desert - the most visible, the most vulnerable, the most emblematic, and the most misunderstood - is the Mojave. Stretching from the outskirts of Los Angeles to the psychic fringes of Las Vegas, it contains such archetypal American spots as Death Valley, Edwards Air Force Base, Joshua Tree National Park, and the Panamint Mountains (where the forty-niners found silver and the Manson family prepared for Helter Skelter). From the twisted silhouette of the Joshua tree to the pencil-straight blacktop of Route 66, the Mojave is a place of contradictions: a region of apparent openness that retains a palpable air of mystery; an empty, inhospitable land that has been thoroughly scoured by people; a stark and oppressive environment that dispenses a feeling of liberation. It encompasses not only intriguing natural history but stubborn human aspiration - a blue-skied, blue-jeaned kingdom of high-speed jet fighters and UFO watchers, dirt-bike racers and endangered tortoises, secret drug labs and health food preachers, nuclear waste dumps and nudist squatters, plucky ranchers and corporate gold miners....
|Title||:||The Mojave: A Portrait of the Definitive American Desert|
|Number of Pages||:||352 Pages|
|Status||:||Available For Download|
|Last checked||:||21 Minutes ago!|
The Mojave: A Portrait of the Definitive American Desert Reviews
Somewhere between the styles of Edward Abbey and John McPhee, Darlington focuses attention on the Mojave desert. Combining natural history with regional history and biography, the author conveys how people have used and abused this unique region and leads to a sense of protectiveness for this harsh, yet perilously fragile and vulnerable location. lj
This book had the potential to be academic and dry. I was so glad that it wasn't! One of the blurbs on the back says that it's "reminiscent of John McPhee at his best". Maybe not John McPhee's best, but certainly a good comparison. I picked up this book because we were going to be passing through the Mojave on a trip. By the time I finished the book I wanted to spend an entire vacation there. Each chapter provides a completely different perspective of this desert: Joshua trees, mining, suburban expansion, atomic testing, motorcycle racing, tortoises. Who knew a desert could be so interesting?
I read this on the recommendation of my son, in preparation for a trip to Nevada and the Mojave Desert. I especially enjoyed the final chapter about the desert tortoise, off-road bikers, and the Barstow to Vegas race. As this was published on the mid-nineties, I would be interested in reading an updated edition.
This counter-culture look at the Mojave starts off strong, with the author trying to define the extent of the Mojave by comparing its historic and popular reach to the actual territory of the Joshua tree – the plant that defines the Mojave Desert. But David Darlington loses focus and, apparently, interest in the book as it moves along, and it lurches from condemnation of the Reagan administration to angry attacks on any desert dwellers who don't embrace Darlington's fairly radical back-to-nature preservationist views. (Even Darlington seems uncomfortable at times with the notion that folks living in the desert should have no stronger a voice in government policy toward the desert than the big-city-dwelling author who comes out on weekends to do research.) Still, the book's charms outweigh its deficiencies: Darlington may not be a desert rat (or at least wasn't when he wrote this book in the mid-'90s; not sure where he lives now), but he'd clearly spent a fair amount of time out there and knows the desert as well as anyone who doesn't live there can. If he lets his politics intrude a little too overtly into his storytelling, he still has some great stories to tell – and there's yet to be a better book at combining both the science and human culture of Southern California's defining desert.
I really enjoyed the different contemporary portraits of the Mojave presented by Darlington. His depiction ranges from humorous to stark to otherworldly. Of note is also how it spanned the entire desert, the spaces from Twentynine Palms to the Antelope Valley to Las Vegas and to Barstow were all fairly chronicled. I wasn't always sure if he was trying to make the book a snapshot in time or a history book but, either way, as someone with a deep affection for the Mojave, I enjoyed most every page.
This is the book that got me started. I was living in Barstow and thinking, "what a dump" when I read this. While it's more of a personal journal and isn't terribly accurate about it's facts it does one thing very well, it draws out the faint cloud of a personality in what appears to most to be a blank and empty waste and it does it in a way that doesn't require much effort or knowledge from the reader.
Darlington includes ranchers, Route 66, Joshua trees, desert tortoises, mining, tourists, military activities, dirt bikers, UFO nuts, and the environment in this very readable and comprehensive examination of the strange landscape known as the Mojave Desert.
A fabulous document of one of my favorite places on Earth. Ranging from natural history to human history, military use and the scruffy characters that call this place home. I read it a long time ago, and I think I need to read it again.
A creative non-fiction travel through the Mojave Desert and all its quirks and the weirdos/eccentrics that like to live there.
Who knew the desert could be so fascinating? Darlington debunks the myth of the "barren" desert.