The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks (Hardcover)

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In this book Terry combines several genres –nature writing, memoir, and public policy. She writes about a diverse and eclectic selection of parks, some obvious choices like Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, her family favorite, and Arcadia National Park in Maine, but also Gettysburg National Battlefield in Pennsylvania, Effigy Mounds National Monument in Iowa, Gulf Islands National Seashore in Florida and Mississippi, and the Cesar E. Chavez National Monument in California.

In her chapter on Gettysburg we learn that it wasn’t until 1998 that the National Park Service shifted its interpretation of the Civil War from just focusing on military strategies to telling the truth about slavery. While visiting Gettysburg, Terry, her husband Brooke, and writer Rick Bass have a conversation with a Confederate soldier re-enactor who insists that the Civil War is not about slavery, but rather states rights vs. the Federal government. There still is a great deal of education that must occur and Terry Tempest Williams’ writings are invaluable in the discussion of the importance and the role of our National Parks.

— From Joan's Picks

June 2016 Indie Next List

“Terry Tempest Williams' latest book, published for the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service, is personal, political, and profound. Her examination of 12 national parks is much more than a guide to the history and landscape of those places. It is a guide to the heart and soul of the entire National Park system, whose depth is exceeded only by its beauty.”
— Chuck Robinson (M), Village Books, Bellingham, WA

Top Ten

“I cannot think of a better person to commemorate the National Park Service on its 100th birthday. When Terry Tempest Williams writes, the personal blends with the political, the public and private meet, and truth spreads into layers of beautiful, often troubling complexity. The same can be said for the National Park Service. By exploring 12 national parks and monuments throughout the country, Williams creates both an intimate elegy to the land and a plea to recognize it for all its history and connection.”
— Melinda Powers, Bookshop Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz, CA


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.

About the Author

Terry Tempest Williams is the award-winning author of fifteen books, including Refuge: An Unnatural History of Familyand Place, Finding Beauty in a Broken World, andWhen Women Were Birds. Her work has been widelyanthologized around the world. She lives in CastleValley, Utah, with her husband, Brooke Williams.
Product Details
ISBN: 9780374280093
ISBN-10: 0374280096
Publisher: Sarah Crichton Books
Publication Date: May 31st, 2016
Pages: 416
Language: English