“As I was reading "All the Wild That Remains," I found myself wondering if Gessner too had not written a book that would make people act. And I wondered how this so-called biography could deliver such an emotional punch. I was expecting to be educated, but not inspired, not for the raw spirit of these two men to rise from the language into my consciousness….The loose but artful weave of the two narratives gives the book a rare creative tension. But it is deepened by a third narrative line, that of Gessner himself, the first-person storyteller, whose honest voice is full of insight and humor.”—The Chicago Tribune
ATWTR is now a staff pick at Powell's where Shawn writes: All the Wild That Remains is a fascinating portrait of the American West told through the lives of two of its most famous writers, Edward Abbey and Wallace Stegner. This book champions their unique styles and will make you want to read (or reread) all of their work. It will also inspire you to get your car and head out on an extended road trip through this beautiful western landscape.
ATWTR in Outside magazine:
ALL THE WILD THAT REMAINS
"A travel book, yes, a literary memoir, yes, and a profound meditation on our myths and shadows. Anyone who loves the American west will be enraptured by this book. It is a wonderful piece of work."
— Luis Alberto Urrea, author of The Hummingbird’s Daughter
"This book rubs Abbey and Stegner’s history in the dust and sand so beloved to them, posing these two late icons among voices, landscapes, and arguments that endure in western wilderness, deftly creating a larger geographic chronicle." — Craig Childs, author of House of Rain
“Praise David Gessner for reminding us that the words of our two most venerated literary grandfathers of the American West, to remind us of our wilder longings, to incite in us a fury, that we might act--even now--to defend all the wild that remains.”
— Pam Houston, author of Cowboys are My Weakness
“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
THE TARBALL CHRONICLES:
"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."
For those interested in putting the Gulf crisis in perspective, there can be no better guide than this funny, often uncertain, frank, opinionated, always curious, informed and awestruck accounting of how we’ve gone wrong and could go right, a full-strength antidote to the Kryptonite of corporate greed and human ignorance. --Atlanta Journal Constitution
“[The Tarball Chronicles] offers compelling images and vivid descriptions of the Gulf. Anyone who wanted a first-hand look at the Gulf after the news cycle ended will find it here, but this brilliant, thoughtful book will leave them disquieted.”
—Publishers Weekly (STARRED review)
“Expressive and adventurous. A profoundly personal inquiry into the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon catastrophe unique in its hands-on immediacy and far-ranging ruminations.” —Donna Seaman, Booklist
"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." The Washington Post on My Green Manifesto
My Green Manifesto in L.A. Times
Am I irritating? Find out.....
This summer Milkweed Editions will publish my next two books. First up, in July, is My Green Manifesto, which melds a trip down the Charles River with my cry for a new, wilder (and funnier) environmentalism.
In September, Milkweed will launch The Tarball Chronicles, which follows my journey through the oily Gulf during the height of the Deepwater Spill last summer. The book was built, in part out of my Gulf blogs,which have been compiled by Onearth Magazine here.
Come join Bill Roorbach and me for a drink at: Bill and Dave's Cocktail Hour.
Meanwhile, Poets & Writers magazine just chose UNCW as the second best nonfiction program in the country. Which aint bad.
My convocation address
Click to watch....
In August OnEarth published my thoughts on birds and the Gulf Oil Spill as Nature and Adaptation.
My Green Manifesto focuses on my trip down the Charles River with eco-planner Dan Driscoll, who helped green the river. To read "Riding the Wild Charles," published in OnEarth magazine, click here.
My essay on the competing demands of writing and teaching, "Those Who Write, Teach," appeared in The New York Times Magazine. (To see more on my pedagogical split personality, watch my video The Professor Transforms.)
Soaring with Fidel is out in paperback.
My essay "The Dreamer Did Not Exist," which originally appeared in The Oxford American, has been published in The Best American Nonrequired Reading 2008.
Listen to my essay on wildness for This I Believe on NPR's All Things Considered. The essay will be published as part of the next This I Believe collection this fall.
The essay, "Learning to Surf," originally published in Orion, won the 2006 John Burroughs Award for Best Essay.
The Los Angeles Review of Books:
"If Stegner and Abbey are like rivers, then Gessner is the smart, funny, well-informed river guide who can tell a good story and interpret what you're seeing."
"Why to Fight for the World's Last Wild Places." An interview.
Wall Street Journal:
“[Gessner] never reduces either man to simplistic categories, but sees in both personalities possible life models.”
The Christian Science Monitor picks All the Wild as their number one book of April. They write “These two men are the contrasting heroes of a profoundly relevant and readable new book by David Gessner: All the Wild That Remains: Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner, and the American West. In this artful combination of nature writing, biography, literary criticism, and cultural history, Gessner studies two fascinating characters who fought through prose and politics to defend the fragile ecologies and transcendent beauties of the West.”
The Dallas Morning News writes: “They are legends, Abbey and Stegner, and bringing them together in a book like this, in the manner chosen by Gessner, was a stroke of genius. If you know and love the work of these two authors, read All the Wild That Remains and then re-read at least parts of Abbey and Stegner. If not, read Abbey and Stegner first, at least one book by each man, and then read All the Wild That Remains.”
Outside chimes in on ATWTR: "These revelations, and Gessner's subtle humor, make for an absorbing read. Abbey's and Stegner's lives, Gessner says, 'are creative possibilities for living a life both good and wild.' That's something that many in the West still seek--and what makes this book such a great read for anyone living there."
Here's the starred Pub Weekly Review
Publishers' Weekly has chosen All the Wild That Remains as their pick/review of the week, saying: "He writes with a vividness that brings the serious ecological issues and the beauty of the land into to sharp relief. For instance, he likens a dried riverbed overflowing from a sudden flash flood to "a dehydrated man choking on his first gulp from a canteen" and says of a landscape marred by oil drilling that "it looked as if someone had taken a knife to a beautiful woman's face." This urgent and engrossing work of journalism is sure to raise ecological awareness and steer readers to books by the authors whom it references."
In a starred review, Kirkus Reviews writes: "Stegner and Abbey 'are two who have lighted my way,” nature writer Wendell Berry admitted. They have lighted the way for Gessner, as well, as he conveys in this graceful, insightful homage to their work and to the region they loved.'"
“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 Eaarth
"An excellent study of two difficult men."
— Larry McMurty
Coming in April 2015...
David Gessner is the author of nine books, including the forthcoming All the Wild That Remains: Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner and the American West, Sick of Nature, My Green Manifesto, and The Tarball Chronicles, which won the 2012 Reed Award for Best Book on the Southern Environment and the Association for Study of Literature and the Environment’s award for best book of creative writing in 2011 and 2012. His Return of the Osprey, which was chosen by the Boston Globe as one of the top ten nonfiction books of the year and the Book-of-the-Month club as one of its top books of the year. The Globe called it a "classic of American Nature Writing."
Gessner has published essays in many magazines, including Outside magazine and the New York Times Magazine, and has won the John Burroughs Award for Best Nature Essay, a Pushcart Prize, and inclusion in Best American Nonrequired Reading. He recently appeared on MSNBC’s The Cycle to offer his take on the anniversary of Hurricane Sandy. Gessner taught Environmental Writing as a Briggs-Copeland Lecturer at Harvard, and is currently a Professor at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, where he founded the award-winning literary journal of place, Ecotone.
He also puts a lot of energy into blogging in his Wild Life column with the Natural Resources Defense Council and for Bill and Dave's Cocktail Hour, a website he created with the writer Bill Roorbach. He still dreams of winning the national championship in ultimate Frisbee, but knows it will never happen.
The ASLE judges on The Tarball Chronicles:
"David Gessner's The Tarball Chronicles takes the lyrical tradition of nature writing, adds a bit of a badass persona reminiscent of Edward Abbey, and brings both into the blighted Gulf of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. Along the way, Gessner cultivates relationships that allow people across cultural, geographic, and political gaps to recognize their common interest in saving what is left in the world. Gessner doesn't hide from the damage, even as he asserts that there is a profound beauty still in nature, and that, if the future may not offer much hope, there's still, as Thoreau might say, a world out there to be lived in. And good lives--both human and not--still being led. This book is edgy, dynamic, darkly humorous, and engaging, with lyrical fireworks, evocatively rendered landscapes, and unflinching but sensitive portrayals of people, places and the damage done, and Gessner's own distinctive and convincing voice rings out from the center of the action."
Publishers Weekly calls The Tarball Chronciles "brilliant." Really.
"A full-strength antidote to the Kryptonite of corporate greed and human ignorance."
Atlanta Journal Constitution on The Tarball Chronicles
Bass Globe Review
Rick Bass reviews My Green Manifesto in the Boston Globe