Category Archives: Book Review

Conservation through conversation

The original impetus behind Torrey House Press was the idea that we could promote love of the land through literature. We jumped in with both feet, believing that by publishing great books, our start-up literary press would be self-supporting through book … Continue reading

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Pill in the hamburger

Last October, while Kirsten and I were on the road peddling our Torrey House wares, we were walking down the streets of Taos, straight into the setting sun, looking for a place to have dinner. A stranger was walking toward … Continue reading

Posted in Book Review, Conservation, Environment, Literature and the Environment, Nature Writing, Public land management, THP Blog, topical nonfiction, West | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Today’s Transcendentalists

Have you ever been overcome by a sense of awe and wonder? Perhaps outside watching the sun set over a roiling ocean or watching the Milky Way spin overhead on a moonless night? Perhaps you had a sense that you … Continue reading

Posted in Book Review, Conservation, Environment, Independent Bookstores, Literature and the Environment, Nature Writing, Publishing, Transformative Power of Natural Places | 1 Comment

Green Shorts, Charles Manson, and Literature and Conservation in the West

This piece originally appeared in The Wildlife News. Ten years ago I read Michael Chrichton’s novel State of Fear. While far from his best work, it was his usual roller coaster of a techno-thriller. And, rather strangely, it was blatantly … Continue reading

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Two Good Men

Two men stand silhouetted against an  sublime sunset, scholars perhaps, contemplating their place in the cosmos.  Such is the cover image,suggested by author Scott Abbott, by 19th -century German Romantic landscape painter, Caspar David Friedrich.  Friedrich’s paintings characteristically set a … Continue reading

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Let Them Paddle, by Alan S. Kesselheim – Review

Let Them Paddle: Coming of Age on the Water by Alan S. Kesselheim My rating: 4 of 5 stars In middle age the notion of doing what you love and then figuring out how to make a living at it … Continue reading

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Prisoner of Zion, by Scott Carrier – Review

Prisoner of Zion: Muslims, Mormons and Other Misadventures by Scott Carrier My rating: 5 of 5 stars As we hone our strategy and niche at Torrey House Press (THP), I am thinking a lot about the West, and the land, … Continue reading

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Environmental, Topical Nonfiction Can Make a Difference

Politicians are often behind, out of step with, and going in a different direction from the people they represent.  In Paul Hawken’s book Blessed Unrest, Hawken suggests there is a global movement afoot fostering environmental health and social justice that … Continue reading

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Where Rivers Change Direction

by Mark Spragg reviewed by Julie Trevelyan Although Mark Spragg’s Wyoming boyhood home does not fall precisely into the generally accepted parameters of the Colorado Plateau, it lingers strongly in his memory and with readers as a sharply-defined, much-loved place … Continue reading

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Wilderness and the American Mind

Another book I borrowed from my son’s college reading list is Roderick Frazier Nash’s Wilderness and the American Mind.  It ends much the same as Oelschlaeger’s The Idea of Wilderness that I spoke of in my previous blog.  Nash concludes … Continue reading

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The Meadow

The Meadow, by James Galvin Reviewed by Brad Rhoda Before I moved to the foothills of Northern Colorado, I had imagined the West to be an amalgamation of images that have, for better or worse, perpetuated the Western Myth: saloon … Continue reading

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Excellent Essays: Lisa Lieberman

On this site we have posted book reviews, book excerpts, contest stories and columns. But some pieces, like Lisa Lieberman’s below, transcend those categories. So we made Excellent Essays. Lisa’s is our first entry. _______________________________ Lisa Lieberman lectures at the … Continue reading

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The Lonely Polygamist

The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall Reviewed by Mark Bailey When I first met Brady Udall at an Entrada Institute writing workshop in Torrey a few years ago we figured that we were related. There’s a bit of polygamy where … Continue reading

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Singing Stone

Singing Stone by Thomas Lowe Fleischner Reviewed by Mark Bailey Thomas Lowe Fleischner is a conservation biologist and former park ranger, a professor of environmental studies at Prescott College in Prescott, Arizona, and a naturalist in the Escalante region for … Continue reading

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The Geology of the Parks, Monuments, and Wildlands of Southern Utah

The Geology of the Parks, Monuments, and Wildlands of Southern Utah by Robert Fillmore Reviewed by A.J. Martine I took Physical Geology at 8 o’clock in the morning, three days a week and only because it was required for my … Continue reading

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The Milagro Beanfield War

The Milagro Beanfield War, by John Nichols Reviewed by A.J. Martine John Nichols sets magical realism in the hills and mountains of north-central New Mexico in The Milagro Beanfield War. Nichols spins a story about a people hiding from time … Continue reading

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The River Why

The River Why by David James Duncan Reviewed by Mark Bailey At the end of The River Why, Gus, David James Duncan’s narrator explains that he wrote the book just so we could fully appreciate the last scene. Creating that … Continue reading

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Trespass

Trespass: Living at the Edge of the Promised Land by Amy Irvine Reviewed by Mark Bailey Like Amy Irvine, I grew up in the Mormon Church, which today likes to be called The Church of JESUS CHRIST of Latter-Day Saints. … Continue reading

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An Intimate Look at the Night Sky

An Intimate Look at the Night Sky by Chet Raymo Reviewed by Kate Magargal When I first held this book in my hands, it immediately struck me as an object heavy for its size. Perhaps it was the week long … Continue reading

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Cool It

Cool It The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming by Bjorn Lomborg Reviewed by Mark Bailey January, 2011. With the shooting havoc recently in Tucson, there’s a lot of sad news in the press right now about divisive rhetoric and … Continue reading

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The Last Cowgirl

The Last Cowgirl by Jana Richman Reviewed by Barbara K. Richardson The Last Cowgirl is a page-turner of a different sort. Or rather for a different audience. If you love the land, puzzle over our abuse of it, and wonder … Continue reading

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Eating Stone

Eating Stone: Imagination and the Loss of the Wild, by Ellen Meloy Reviewed by Becca Lawton Who could eat stone? I wondered, years ago, as I pondered the title of Ellen Meloy’s Eating Stone: Imagination and the Loss of the … Continue reading

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Cowgirls: Women of the American West

Cowgirls: Women of the American West by Teresa Jordan Reviewed by Julie Trevelyan Riding on the range with only a trusty steed for companion and miles of open country ahead—what a romantic notion. I admit it’s been one I fantasized … Continue reading

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Crossing the Next Meridian

In 1954, two years before I was born, Wallace Stegner’s Beyond the Hundredth Meridian: John Wesley Powell and the Second Opening of the West was published, a book Charles Wilkinson suggests may be the greatest book ever written about the … Continue reading

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Roughing It

Okay, we realize that Roughing It cannot be considered completely nonfiction; it is Mark Twain after all. In fact, Twain warns us that “this book is merely a personal narrative ” and that he “regret[s] very much” that so much … Continue reading

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The Sagebrush Ocean

Basin and range, basin and range. From my grandmother’s front porch in Lund, Nevada, I watched many-colored sunsets paint the sky above the three mountain ridges visible across the White River Valley. As a child I searched for geodes in … Continue reading

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Cadillac Desert

Cadillac Desert The American West and its Disappearing Water by Marc Reisner In the land of the rugged individualist, water is king and the king is a Socialist. I retired relatively early for my age at the end of 1999. … Continue reading

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Readers’ Suggestions

We asked readers by email and on Facebook to tell us who their favorite writers of the Plateau and the West are. The responses are enthusiastic and insightful. We are gratified to post them here. In the coming months we … Continue reading

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The Virginian

On Christmas 2002, Roberts Rinehart Publishers released the 100th anniversary edition of Owen Wister’s The Virginian. It’s a story, told through the eyes of a visiting greenhorn from the East, of a Wyoming ranch foreman known only as the Virginian, … Continue reading

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Angle of Repose

I wrote a thesis on Wallace Stegner’s use of landscape in college, and my son, Matt, read from Stegner’s Wilderness Letter at my recent marriage in Capitol Reef. My experience with Stegner’s writing feels like my relationship with the land: … Continue reading

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