William Atkins: The Immeasurable World Journeys in Desert Places



FREE EBOOK The Immeasurable World Journeys in Desert Places – jimmychooshoes.us

E is right at the edge but they are not lifeless if you now where to look Atkins is not fully sure what he is seeking though his partner of four years had accepted a job overseas and he was not going with her Seeking some clarity of mind he heads out to the Empty uarter on the Arabian peninsular a place made famous by the travel writer Wilfred Thesiger In his book Arabian Sands he went searching for those that still carried out the age old Bedouin life and where others saw unforgiving wilderness Thesiger found timeless peace Standing in the mountainous pink dunes he is humbled by the vastness of the place and by the people who now these places so intimately that they are never lostThe Great Victorian Desert in Australia has been Aboriginal lands for millennia The UK government with collusion from the Aussie PM used it for numerous nuclear tests These were on ancient Aboriginal land and the fallout caused many health problems and displaced people who had no idea of what was really going on Even though it echoed to the most powerful blasts that we humans can make it is still a place that has spiritual significance to the people that still choose to live there The next two deserts are in Asia the Gobi and what is left of the Aral Sea These utterly different places have been used as a method of defence to protect China for people trying to enter the country and the other a site of a massive environmental disaster Stepping once again in the footsteps of travellers before him in this case in it is the Cable sisters where he discovers a place that is tense and edgy Standing in the desert that once was the Aral sea is uite a surreal experience and he learns how the waters that once contained sturgeon now hold no life and how the demands for irrigation drained this once great freshwater seaNext place to visit is the continent of America where Atkins visits two deserts are on the list First up is the Sonoran Desert It is a harsh and baked environment that borders Mexico and is a focus for those wanting to cross and realise their own American Dream Very little of it is fenced to eep people out as the desert is pretty effective at doing that and Atkins joins those that are trying to eep people out as well as those who are there to offer some humanity to those that have made the attempt to cross The polarised views of each camp make this a tense place very different to his next desert which is the Black Rock Desert and the festival that is the Burning Man where he has offered to help out The contrast between this place with its liberal perspective on sex nudity and drugs and the previous location is stark These places are both very different to his final location though St Anthony s Monastery in the Eastern Desert of Egypt a place that revels in its isolation from the pressures of the modern world and brings Atkins full circle to the spiritual and intangible elements of the desertEven though deserts are some of the lest populated places in the world this is still a series of stories about the people that inhabit them however scarce they might be I particularly liked the chapter on the Australian Great Victoria Desert a place that was taken from its rightful inhabitants and is slowly being returned having been contaminated It makes for painful reading It is as much about Atkins though he is using the vastness of the desert to clarify his mind and as a support for the pain that he went through at the end of a relationship Whilst this is a travel book there is history poetry and philosophy in amongst the drifting sands His prose is lucid with hints of melancholy and this book contains some of the best maps I have seen in a travel book yet Well worth reading for a modern take on deserts. Kazakhstan and 'sand seas' of China's volatile north west; the contested borderlands of Arizona and the riotous Burning Man festival in Nevada's Black Rock Desert; and the ancient monasteries of Egypt's Eastern Desert Along the way Atkins illuminates the people history topography and symbolism of these remarkable but often troubled placesReviving the illustrious British tradition of travel writing The Immeasurable World is destined to become a classic of desert literatur.

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Same material had been written by Paul Theroux or William Langenweische I m not uite sure what this book was meant to be I m not sure it nows either From the opening parts it looks like a history of the conuering of certain deserts with the author ind of following in those pioneers footsteps A bit But as it goes on it seems to spend less time on the history and on what is happening in these deserts now I m uite surprised because the most interesting parts were the two segments in the USA closely followed by China and the Aral Sea none of which explore the history of the desert well they do but in the chapter about the Burned Man festival these paragraphs in particular just get in the way of telling the story of what is happening now The books seemed to be building to a climax The author looks at seven desert regions the first two come across as a bit dry pun absolutely intended but the next four segments just get and interesting Sadly the seventh and final part set in Egypt loses that precious momentum Thematically it works the theme of the saints rounds the novel off in an appropriate way linking in with the first segment finishing where it started but that final chapter is just dull and whilst I was eagerly devouring the previous parts I had to force myself through the last forty pages Shame as without that loss of momentum at the end I think it would have been a four star book and not a three The bits that worked were great it is certainly worth reading but the end is unsatisfactory You might also enjoy The Secret Knowledge of Water Soul of Nowhere Red Passion and Patience in the Desert Arabian Sands News From Tartary Desert Solitaire Desert Notes Reflections in the Eye of a Raven Crossing Open Ground The Man Who Walked Through Time Where the Water Goes Life and Death Along the Colorado River Cadillac Desert The American West and Its Disappearing Water Great Aridness Climate Change and the American Southwest Savage Dreams Uncommon Ground The Hour of Land Water A Natural History Atkins travels to deserts around the world and describes the different contexts they serve Politically they have been used to separate people US and China but have brought them together socially Burning Man and religiously Coptic monasteries Their remoteness was used to test atomic bombs US USSR Australia and short sighted economic motivations reduced healthy lands into wastes Soviet Central Asia An interesting book wounded at times by Atkins clumsy writing 35 Atkins has produced an appealing blend of vivid travel anecdotes historical background and philosophical musings He is always conscious that he is treading in the footsteps of earlier adventurers He has no illusions about being a pioneer here rather he eagerly picks up the thematic threads others have spun out of desert experience and runs with them things like solitude asceticism punishment for wrongdoing and environmental degradation The book is composed of seven long chapters each set in a different desert In my favorite segment the author rents a cabin in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona for 100 a week My interest waxed and waned from chapter to chapter but readers of travelogues should find plenty to enjoy Few of us would have the physical or emotional fortitude to repeat Atkins s journeys but we get the joy of being armchair travelers insteadSee my full review at Shiny New Books Atkins is the latest one to be drawn to those impenetrable places deserts He joins an illustrious list of explorers and people who are seeking something amongst the arid sands The geographer definition of a desert is somewhere that has less than 250mm of rain per year but for those that now what to look for they can be places of riches and places where lif. N deserts as cursed places to be avoided or crossed as uickly as possible But for those whose call deserts home the 'hideous blanks' described by explorers are rich in resources and significanceTravelling to five continents over three years visiting deserts both iconic and little nown William Atkins discovers a realm that is as much internal as physical His journey takes him to the Arabian Peninsula's Empty uarter and Australia's nuclear test grounds; the dry Aral Sea of.

I almost gave this book 4 stars instead of 5 because I could not categorize it It combines history theology philosophypolitics science travelogue literature poetry about 8 deserts around the world Atkins starts the book in the Empty uarter Oman with the Desert Fathers of early Christian monasticsm then moves on to the Great Victoria Desert Australia The Gobi Desert and the Taklamakan Desert China and the Aralkum Kazakhstan providing descriptions and insights into the culture and history of this deserts In the United States Atkins considers the Sonoran Desert and the plight of refugees attempting to cross the border in Nogales as well as the Black Rock Desert and the cultural phenomenon of Burning Man In the last chapter Atkins comes full circle back to theology at a monastery in the Eastern Desert Egypt I enjoyed the maps at the beginning of each chapter so that I had a better understanding of where each desert was located and the few black white photos sprinkled throughout the book I would have enjoyed pictures of the desert landscapes though I now I can Google them on my own This book was not an easy or fast read but worth the effortI received this book as a giveaway thank you Goodreads and Doubleday Atkins explores four desert areas of the world and in addition to describing the environment includes brief discussions of the region s human history environmental importance and other contextual details I felt rather disatisfied with the brevity of the historical and environmental background While not really writing a travel adventure tale Atkins also is not writing a real natural o This is a book about tbe author s wanderings through the deserts of the world We learn how each desert looks as well as a bit about the people that live in each I found this book fascinating and if you think this book would be dry well I think you would be surprised at how the author describes the deserts and eeps you wanting to read I would like to th The heart stumblesShe leaves and his thoughts drift to the desert His literary instincts lure him to the books propel him to the studies set for him a feast of symbolic attractions Here are the records of emptiness and exile isolation and ordeal arduous days and nights of passage the history the art the science of the devil s domain William Atkins reads And then he packs a bag The Immeasurable World invites the restless among us to join in the journey through the deserts of modern time We will travel to the Empty uarter in Oman the Great Victoria Desert in Australia the Gobi and Taklamakan in China the Aralkum in Kazakhstan the Sonoran and Black Rock of the American West and come to our end in Egypt We will greet native inhabitants encounter nomadic tribes commune with monks and migrants trip through the cultish rift of the festival of Burning Man We will hear about the uest for oil nuclear testing border disputes and the rigorous price exacted by some of the earth s most inhospitable terrainThe writing is exemplary The experience comes to life through a mind that is smart sensitive well informed and genuinely worth accompanyingA small and favorite piece I came across written during a period of respite One evening sitting on the edge of a motel pool in Carmel she told me a story or a parable An anthropologist once asked a Hopi Indian why so many of his people s songs were about water she said In one hand as she spoke she was holding a lemon I d picked all rind big as a grapefruit and hard as a nut She continued Simple says the Indian because water is so scarceAnd why he asks the anthropologist are so many of yours about love Such is a sense of thisRecommended of course The content warrants a 4 rating but sadly the prose does not If only the. For all the desert's dreamlike beauty to travel here was not just to pitch yourself into oblivion it was to grind away at yourself until nothing was left It was to aspire to the condition of sand One third of the earth's land surface is desert much of it desolate and inhospitable What is it about this harsh environment that has captivated humankind throughout history From the prophets of the Bible to Marco Polo Lawrence of Arabia to Gertrude Bell travellers have often see.