David Gessner: Blunt, Funny, Everyman Environmentalist
All the Wild That Remains: Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner and the American West
“Two extraordinary men, and one remarkable book. To understand how we understand the natural world, you need to read this book.” --Bill McKibben, author of Eaart
“To understand the truth of the Desert West, read Stegner. To understand one writer’s emotional response to that desert and to our thoughtless destruction of wilderness, read Abbey. To understand the two writers as men of their times—and ours—read Gessner: for his honesty, compassion, humility, scholarship, and sensibility.”---Stephen Trimble, author of Bargaining for Eden
Gessner’s engaging All the Wild That Remains: Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner and the American West, provides an intimate look at two of America’s finest authors. Gessner traveled to places they haunted, read all he could of their writings, and spoke with people who knew them well. Stegner authored 46 works, including 13 novels, and won a Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award. Abbey wrote 28 books, was a Fulbright Scholar at Edinburgh University, and may be best known for his book Desert Solitaire, which is often said to be as worthy as Henry David Thoreau's Walden. Stegner, clean cut, traditional, with a PhD, and Abbey, an uncompromising anarchist and atheist with a 1960s-ish appearance and lifestyle, provide rich grist for Gessner's mill, which he fully exploits for the benefit of any reader. Gessner himself has penned nine books. All three authors are among America’s important environmentalists and writers.
“Highly recommended for everyone interested in literature, environmentalism, and the American West.”—Library Journal
“Gessner writes with a vividness that brings the serious ecological issues and the beauty of the land into to sharp relief. This urgent and engrossing work of journalism is sure to raise ecological awareness and steer readers to books by the authors whom it references.”—Publishers’ Weekly Starred Review.
In My Green Manifesto: Down the Charles River in Pursuit of a New Environmentalism, David Gessner embarks on a rough-and-tumble journey down Boston’s Charles River, searching for the soul of a new environmentalism. With a tragically leaky canoe, a broken cell phone, and a cooler of beer, Gessner grapples with the stereotype of the environmentalist as an overzealous, puritanical mess. As the story emerges—the transformation of the famously polluted Charles into an urban haven for wildlife and people —with it emerges the vision of a new sort of eco-champion: someone who falls in love with a forgotten space, and then fights like hell for it. Gessner points toward a scrappy environmentalism that, despite all odds, just might change the world.
In The Tarball Chronicles: A Journey Beyond the Oiled Pelican and Into the Heart of the Gulf Oil Spill, David Gessner goes beyond. Beyond the oil-soaked pelican, beyond the oil-soaked beach, beyond the Deepwater Horizon oil spill entirely, there is a deeper story of sacrifice unfolding in the Gulf of Mexico. Reporters and government officials focused on the smallest part of it: oil gushed into the water for 153 days, then, on September 19, 2010, the well was capped—the story was over. For David Gessner the unimaginable amount of oil spilled into the ocean was only the beginning.
In The Tarball Chronicles, Gessner eats, drinks, and talks his way into the heart of Gulf country—exploring the region’s birds, sea life, and ecosystems with the oceanographers, activists, and subsistence fishermen who call it home. Part absurdist travelogue, part manifesto, The Tarball Chronicles is overall a love song for the Gulf that asks one simple question: how much are we willing to sacrifice to keep living the way we do?
“Plenty of people are writing about the BP oil disaster, but few indeed will be able to make us feel the reality of it like David Gessner can . . . that his account will be action-filled and darkly funny is pure bonus.”—John Jeremiah Sullivan
"If you read only one book about the Deepwater Horizon oil spill this year, it should be this one. If you plan not to read any books about it, make an exception for this blunt, funny, eye-opening quest to find the real stories behind the Gulf crisis." —Shelf Awareness
A hands-in-the-dirt environmentalist and everyman ornithologist, David Gessner is a tireless voice of passion for the wild world and its creatures. David Gessner is the author of nine books and countless essays about the wild world. Winner of a John Burroughs Award, and the Pushcart Prize, his rambunctious style has been redefining what it means to write about nature for the past twenty years. He teaches at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where he founded the award-winning journal Ecotone.
“For nature-writing enthusiasts, Gessner needs no introduction. His books and essays have in many ways redefined what it means to write about the natural world, coaxing the genre from a staid, sometimes wonky practice to one that is lively and often raucous.”—Washington Post