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The Abstract Wild

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The Abstract Wild.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Jack Turner(Author)

    Book details


If anything is endangered in America it is our experience of wild nature--gross contact. There is knowledge only the wild can give us, knowledge specific to it, knowledge specific to the experience of it. These are its gifts to us. How wild is wilderness and how wild are our experiences in it, asks Jack Turner in the pages of The Abstract Wild. His answer: not very wild. National parks and even so-called wilderness areas fall far short of offering the primal, mystic connection possible in wild places. And this is so, Turner avows, because any managed land, never mind what it's called, ceases to be wild. Moreover, what little wildness we have left is fast being destroyed by the very systems designed to preserve it. Natural resource managers, conservation biologists, environmental economists, park rangers, zoo directors, and environmental activists: Turner's new book takes aim at these and all others who labor in the name of preservation. He argues for a new conservation ethic that focuses less on preserving things and more on preserving process and "leaving things be." He takes off after zoos and wilderness tourism with a vengeance, and he cautions us to resist language that calls a tree "a resource" and wilderness "a management unit." Eloquent and fast-paced, The Abstract Wild takes a long view to ask whether ecosystem management isn't "a bit of a sham" and the control of grizzlies and wolves "at best a travesty." Next, the author might bring his readers up-close for a look at pelicans, mountain lions, or Shamu the whale. From whatever angle, Turner stirs into his arguments the words of dozens of other American writers including Thoreau, Hemingway, Faulkner, and environmentalist Doug Peacock. We hunger for a kind of experience deep enough to change our selves, our form of life, writes Turner. Readers who take his words to heart will find, if not their selves, their perspectives on the natural world recast in ways that are hard to ignore and harder to forget.

"Powerfully written essays on our relationship to wilderness. . . . This sometimes blistering, provocative, well-written book is an ecoradical's dream come true--and every reader concerned with wilderness issues should take it into account."--Kirkus Reviews

3.3 (4194)
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Book details

  • PDF | 136 pages
  • Jack Turner(Author)
  • University of Arizona Press (30 Sept. 1996)
  • English
  • 6
  • Science & Nature

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Review Text

  • By Frank Bierbrauer on 21 April 2007

    At last a book which captures far better than anything I've seen in print the real sense of "wild" not in the stagnant, sanitised way of zoos or even of gardens but rather in the experience of real vulnerability felt in the presence of something awe inspiring and possessing of an energy which flows freely and powerfully when the human being just "lives". Inadvertently, Turner expresses the same thoughts often stated by others such as David Bohm : ever creative nature, the holomovement, David Abram : spell of the sensuous and it reminds one at times of the silent activity so easily perceived in Haiku poetry. His experience of first seeing Indian rock paintings holds the mind with its strength and vitality, especially so when he notices his own very human qualities as the energy of that moment seems to fade thereby expressing the need of the person to experience each moment as new rather than as a memory. Similarly, the very personal experience of being hunted by a mountain lion is not lost on anyone who even vaguely remembers what it was to be alive, say as a child or the sudden and unexpected feelings of "how good it is to be alive" that would assault one at times in his/her life. Unfortunately, these things are rare and only vague memories for most of us. As such Turner awakens this in us again and the desire to feel as a human being once more.


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