“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:


"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

"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

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

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.

Magazine Work:

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.

Here are a couple of new reviews for All the Wild That Remains:
"“David Gessner has been a font of creativity ever since the 1980s, when he published provocative political cartoons in that famous campus magazine, the Harvard Crimson. These days he’s a naturalist, a professor and a master of the art of telling humorous and thought-provoking narratives about unusual people in out-of-the way-places. To his highly original body of work, he brings a sense of awe for the untamed universe and a profound appreciation for the raucous literature of the West. “All the Wild That Remains” ought to be devoured by everyone who cares about the Earth and its future. “For me there is no wild life without a moral life,” Gessner writes with all the force that Henry David Thoreau might have expressed. All the Wild That Remains” offers a contemporary call of the wild that resonates loudly and clearly from one coast to the other " --The San Francisco Chronicle. http:/​/​www.sfgate.com/​books/​article/​All-the-Wild-That-Remains-by-David-Gessner-6305677.php

"Gessner’s wacky sense of humor and rigorous mind, his delight in, as he calls it, “an antidote to the virtual age,” and, especially, “the lost art of lounging” — have never been more evident than in his beautifully conceived new book, All the Wild That Remains: Edward Abbey, Wallace Stegner, and the American West. This timely mash-up of environmental journalism, biography, travel writing, and literary criticism has Gessner hitting the road in search of the real story behind “two of the most effective environmental fighters of the 20th century.”
What emerges is a joyful adventure in geography and in reading — and in coming to terms with how the domestic and the wild can co-exist over time.
Joy Horowitz The Los Angeles Review of Books http:/​/​lareviewofbooks.org/​review/​wild-literary-geographies-david-gessner

[All the Wild That Remains is] an incredibly enjoyable read. You'll feel like a co-conspirator on a great road trip through the West with not two, but three, great nature writers, sitting in the back seat, reveling in their stories….f Gessner isn't careful, one of these days he might just find himself in the same pantheon as Stegner, Abbey, Barry Lopez, Berry, Williams and our other invaluable chroniclers and seers of the West.”--Clay Evans, The Boulder Daily Camera

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."

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...

Abbey in a characteristic pose

Stegner in the Black Rock Desert

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."

"A full-strength antidote to the Kryptonite of corporate greed and human ignorance."
Atlanta Journal Constitution on The Tarball Chronicles

Watch "Transformation," my new YouTube Movie

And: Skiing the Beach

My Books

“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
My Descent into the Oily Gulf.
Down the Charles River in Pursuit of a New Environmentalism
My story of following the osprey migration from Cape Cod to Cuba and Venezuela and back
"This book is an enormous gift, an act of preservation as important as any chunk of land purchased by The Nature Conservancy. John Hay's stature cannot be overestimated, and David Gessner has done him great justice."—Bill McKibben, author of Wandering Home: A Long Walk Through America’s Most Hopeful Landscape
“A classic of American nature writing.”
--The Boston Globe
"Not since the diatribes from Edward Abbey has anyone in this field come out and made such a sacrilege of our holy texts."
--John Hanson Mitchell
“A highly readable, disarmingly self-conscious meditation on nature, ancestry, and mortality."
The Boston Globe
"Gessner's essays are on fire. He shows us that we can have delightful, imaginative and creative lives by becoming more rooted and connected to the place where we are...Wise and enlivening, provoking us into a higher understanding of both nature and ourselves."
--Rocky Mountain News

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