The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks (Paperback)
Far different from what one might expect in this Centennial National Park year, Terry Tempest Williams’s The Hour of Land takes us on an unpredictable and utterly revelatory journey through America’s national parks and monuments mingling their history, their present reality, the rock and bird and tree of them as we travel through place, the memory of place—whether in the minds of locals, of the parks’ guardians, or from Terry’s personal recollections. Slowly as we read, the very bones of place become visible until somehow, whether through the spectrum of poetry or personal story, natural history, history, or science, these parks and monuments become the very skeleton of our country. Characteristically, the book is magnificent and incredibly brave. As we hear prairie dogs chirp, watch a redheaded woodpecker, see in our mind’s eye Theodore Roosevelt’s grief; hike through the Teton’s with Terry’s straight-backed father, the terrain of Maine’s Acadia Park with her husband Brooke; ride horseback with them through the terrain of the Civil War, slowly, place by place our country begins to emerge, stone linked to story, history to present reality. The South’s Civil War outlook is linked to that of the sagebrush rebellion here in the West; Big Bend and the thought of walls meant to keep people out to the inevitable desecration of nature; the author’s own fratricidal rage to the indifference of the Arctic wild; her (everyone’s) righteous rage in Gulf Island, in Canyonlands, to the devastation wrecked by the oil industry; injustice to First Peoples, injustice to all, to Alcatrez. The conflagration of Glacier National Park, sets the pages on fire. Along with our hearts. But then to the Cesar Chavez monument, emblem of hope. Change is possible. The Hour of Land is at hand. With unholy clarity Terry has shown us our land, its physical body, the bones of its history, the urgent reality of our roles in its future. A book to be devoured, this is also an urgent call to action.— From Betsy Burton
Longlisted for an Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence
A Washington Post Notable Book of the Year
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 New York Times bestselling 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 and 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, 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 Family and Place, Finding Beauty in a Broken World, and When Women Were Birds. Her work has been widely anthologized around the world. She lives in Castle Valley, Utah, with her husband, Brooke Williams.