Inferno

Front Cover
University of Texas Press, May 1, 2006 - Nature - 176 pages
Charles Bowden has been an outspoken advocate for the desert Southwest since the 1970s. Recently his activism helped persuade the U.S. government to create the Sonoran Desert National Monument in southern Arizona. But in working for environmental preservation, Bowden refuses to be one who “outline[s] something straightforward, a manifesto with clear rules and a set of plans for others to follow.” In this deeply personal book, he brings the Sonoran Desert alive, not as a place where well-meaning people can go to enjoy “nature,” but as a raw reality that defies bureaucratic and even literary attempts to define it, that can only be experienced through the senses. Inferno burns with Charles Bowden's passion for the desert he calls home. “I want to eat the dirt and lick the rock. Or leave the shade for the sun and feel the burning. I know I don't belong here. But this is the only place I belong,” he says. His vivid descriptions, complemented by Michael Berman's acutely observed photographs of the Sonoran Desert, make readers feel the heat and smell the dryness, see the colors in earth and sky, and hear the singing of dry bones across the parched ground. Written as “an antibiotic” during the time Bowden was lobbying the government to create the Sonoran Desert National Monument, Inferno repudiates both the propaganda and the lyricism of contemporary nature writing. Instead, it persuades us that “we need these places not to remember our better selves or our natural self or our spiritual self. We need these places to taste what we fear and devour what we are. We need these places to be animals because unless we are animals we are nothing at all. That is the price of being a civilized dude.”
 

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Contents

Section 1
Section 2
Section 3
Section 4
Section 5
Section 6
iii
Section 7
ii
Section 8
26
Section 24
106
Section 25
107
Section 26
109
Section 27
114
Section 28
121
Section 29
125
Section 30
126
Section 31
130

Section 9
33
Section 10
37
Section 11
38
Section 12
51
Section 13
60
Section 14
65
Section 15
69
Section 16
74
Section 17
77
Section 18
78
Section 19
79
Section 20
83
Section 21
87
Section 22
102
Section 23
105
Section 32
133
Section 33
136
Section 34
139
Section 35
149
Section 36
153
Section 37
156
Section 38
162
Section 39
165
Section 40
166
Section 41
168
Section 42
172
Section 43
173
Section 44
179
Copyright

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About the author (2006)

Charles Bowden is one of today's premier writers on the American environment and social issues along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Michael P. Berman is a photographer and artist who lives in San Lorenzo, New Mexico. His work is in the permanent collections of many American museums, including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, and the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego.

Bibliographic information