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Desert Notebooks

A Road Map for the End of Time

List Price: $26.00

ON SALE: July 7, 2020 | Hardcover | 5.5 x 8.25, 288 pages | ISBN 9781640093539
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For fans of Robert Macfarlane or Elizabeth Rush, National Magazine Award winner and The Nation columnist Ben Ehrenreich layers climate science, mythologies, nature writing, and personal experiences into a stunning reckoning of our current moment and our all-too-human urge to grapple with apocalypse.

National Magazine Award winner and The Nation columnist Ben Ehrenreich layers climate science, mythologies, nature writing, and personal experiences into a stunning reckoning with our current moment and with the literal and figurative end of time.

Desert Notebooks examines how the unprecedented pace of destruction to our environment and an increasingly unstable geopolitical landscape have led us to the brink of a calamity greater than any humankind has confronted before. As inhabitants of the Anthropocene, what might some of our own histories tell us about how to confront apocalypse? And how might the geologies and ecologies of desert spaces inform how we see and act toward time–the pasts we have erased and paved over, this anxious present, the future we have no choice but to build? Ehrenreich draws on the stark grandeur of the desert to ask how we might reckon with the uncertainty that surrounds us and fight off the crises that have already begun.

In the canyons and oases of the Mojave and in Las Vegas’s neon apocalypse, Ehrenreich finds beauty, and even hope, surging up in the most unlikely places, from the most barren rocks, and the apparent emptiness of the sky. Desert Notebooks is a vital and necessary chronicle of our past and our present–unflinching, urgent–and yet timeless and profound.

About Ben Ehrenreich

BEN EHRENREICH writes about climate change for The Nation. His work has appeared in Harper's, The New York Times Magazine, and The Los Angeles Times. He has reported from Afghanistan, Haiti, Cambodia, El Salvador, and Mexico. In 2011, he was awarded a National Magazine Award. He is the author of The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine, one of The Guardian's Best Books of 2016.

Praise

Praise for Desert Notebooks

"The crisis humanity faces is total. It's planetary. It's a crisis in space and also in time. How close are we to the end? Is this land we stand on going to be inhabitable in one hundred years, sixty, forty? In sharply featured, compelling prose--the landscape writing here has the heartbreaking clarity of the experience of desert light--Ben Ehrenreich's stunning Desert Notebooks combs through history, literature, myth, physics, and ecology to understand how we got here, and how we might find our way out, into forms of time that are made not of our thralldom to capital and petroleum but of our relationships to each other, to our fellow creatures, to plants and rocks and landscapes, and to the stars and sun and moon overhead. Ben Ehrenreich wants you to join him here, on earth. The thrill of Desert Notebooks is that in its lucid pages such a miracle seems almost possible." --Anthony McCann, author of Shadowlands

"Ben Ehrenreich walked the deserts of the Occupied Territories for his previous book; in Desert Notebooks, he takes us with him into the Mojave--its coyotes, creosote, and Joshua trees. He descends barrancas and canyons, hikes boulder-strewn slopes into labyrinthine stacks of Jorge Luis Borges's great Library, from which he draws out stories from that time 'when animals were people, ' narratives by the Chemehuevi, the Serrano, the Mohave, and other desert peoples. These echo in texts by Martin Bernal, Walter Benjamin, the Marquis de Condorcet, and Jakob Böhme's mystical touchstone--The Signature of All Things--as well as James Mooney's classic, the Ghost Dance and the Sioux revolt of 1890. Climate change California is burning as Ehrenreich's meditations prismatically refract heat, smoke, and light. Desert Notebooks is a book for our time--that is, a time scorched by harsh solar rays, shimmering in searing, phosphorescent prose." --Sesshu Foster, author of ELADATL: A History of the East Los Angeles Dirigible Air Transport Lines

Praise for The Way to the Spring

The Guardian, a Best Book of the Year

"Ehrenreich's haunting, poignant and memorable stories add up to a weighty contribution to the Palestinian side of the scales of history." --New York Times Book Review

"An impassioned and humane story." --O, The Oprah Magazine

"An elegant and moving account . . . [Ehrenreich] brings a novelist's eye to his subject . . . It should be read by friends and foes of Israel alike." --The Economist

"Ben Ehrenreich's The Way to the Spring: Life and Death in Palestine is a heartbreaking account of the brutal and often surreal realities of life under the Israeli occupation. After reading it, you don't know whether to despair at the callousness and self-righteousness of human beings, or to wonder at their resilience and creativity." --Yuval Noah Harari, The Guardian

"A devastating portrait of unending turbulence in Palestine." --Kirkus Reviews

"Teeming with heartbreak, irony, and intimate moments of joy . . . [Ehrenreich] paints a vivid portrait of life in three locations: the village of Nabi Saleh, where families have been protesting weekly for the right to use a spring that was theirs until Israeli settlers claimed it, and are consistently met with force; the city of Hebron, a puzzle box of checkpoints and segregated zones, and a powder keg of Jewish and Palestinian resentments; and the village of Umm al-Kheir, where a way of life is quietly dying in the shadow of ever-expanding settlements. With a journalist's keen eye for detail and a novelist's ardor for language and its ability to move people, Ehrenreich will incite renewed compassion in his readers." --Publishers Weekly

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