04 July 2016
The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks by Terry Tempest Williams
America’s national parks are breathing spaces in a world in which such spaces are steadily disappearing, which is why more than 300 million people visit the parks each year. Now Terry Tempest Williams, the author of the environmental classic Refuge and the beloved memoir When Women Were Birds, returns with The Hour of Land, a literary celebration of our national parks, an exploration of what they mean to us and what we mean to them.
From the Grand Tetons in Wyoming to Acadia in Maine to Big Bend in Texas and more, Williams creates a series of lyrical portraits that illuminate the unique grandeur of each place while delving into what it means to shape a landscape with its own evolutionary history into something of our own making. Part memoir, part natural history, and part social critique, The Hour of Land is a meditation and a manifesto on why wild lands matter to the soul of America.
OK, so, here's the deal. I love Terry Tempest Williams, like love, Terry Tempest Williams. If you have not read When Women Were Birds you need to remedy that immediately. I was completely not worried about whether The Hour of Land would be good or not. I had no worries. I was more concerned with having enough unbroken time to put The Hour of Land into my brain.
Oh, it's so beautiful. The book itself is a gorgeous physical object. And Terry's writing is wonderful. This is a beautiful, personal, and wide-ranging call to action to save our national parks and monuments from predation by industry, thoughtless people, and cultural insensitivity. Her writing moves from personal essay, to epistolary, to journalism all in one book. (I will be in Atlanta when she reads at Prairie Lights and I am extremely sad about this.) I was really excited to see that Terry visited Effigy Mounds, which is in my state, and I am long overdue for a repeat visit there (last visited in middle school).
So this is a very short review to say go buy this and put it in you face immediately!
Dear FTC: I purchased my copy of this book because OF COURSE.