This is not a "travel" book written in the same style as today's are. It is more a philosophical look at the world with a backdrop of late '60's Moab, Utah at a period when that area of the country was much less well known and accessible. Some of the material is interesting because it is very topical to that place and time while other of it is timeless.
The format of the book is not so much a holistic story but a collection of more or less independent chapters.
The author describes the timeless glory of even the most minute details of the natural world with such elegance and context that you will never think of the natural world in the same way again. It's not usually my style of book but it is so incredibly well written that it is enjoyable to read.
This is a wonderful book. Not something you have to, or even WANT to, read all at once. Edward Abbey has written a few books about the desert. This is about a season that he worked as a park ranger in Arches National Monument park in Utah. He worked there for 2 years, leaving, and years later returning for a third season. Beautifully written, he tells of the desert, the sky, the landscape, the wildlife, and yes, sometimes the tourists. And what he thinks of the park service. Abbey was a REAL person; he wrote what he felt. He is poetic, lyrical, funny and philosophical all at the same time. It took me a while to read this one and I usually read fast. I kept reading a chapter or 2 and putting it down for a while to absorb things.
This incredible book actually helped to save my then 21 year old sister's life...she was lost in the deserts of Arizona for two days and one night, middle of July without shoes, water, anything. I had always revered Abbey, and after that incident, he has moved up to saint status in my opinion.
This book was recommended to me by an ecology professor. The subject matter was interesting enough but the prose failed it. I found the writing a bit trite at times and overly flowery at others. I did not finish the read. I suspect that the author has a bit of a 'cult-like' following or is, perhaps, an acquired taste.
I have read this book several times and enjoy every page. Abbey's descriptions of the desert wilderness are captivating and he is a very likeable narrator. This book is a must read for those who crave true wilderness adventure and appreciate environmental awareness and conservation.