cover image Erosion: Essays of Undoing

Erosion: Essays of Undoing

Terry Tempest Williams. FSG/Crichton, $27 (336p) ISBN 978-0-374-90890-4

In a collection of passionate, galvanizing essays (many previously published), activist and teacher Williams (The Hour of Land) shares her intimate connection to the as-yet untamed landscapes of the American West. She celebrates the millions of acres of wilderness protected as public land both as a bulwark against environmental disaster and as “a stay against insanity” during troubled times. She explores politics—the impact of the Endangered Species Act of 1973 and the Wilderness Act of 1964—and her own personal encounters with nature, such as the sandhill cranes she witnesses “flying above the Platte [River] in all directions... crisscrossing each other like long undulating strands of calligraphy.” Several essays focus on the fight for Bears Ears National Monument, a site Native Americans hold sacred, now doomed to a severe reduction in size by a Trump executive order. Speaking out strongly against drilling on public lands, Williams describes how she and her husband leased 1,120 acres of Utah land in order to preserve it. Despite the potential for despair, however, Williams writes with a poetic optimism. “We need not lose hope, we just need to locate where it dwells,” she insists, and one of those places is in Williams’s own writing, as demonstrated in this stirring collection. (Oct.)