cover image The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks

The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America’s National Parks

Terry Tempest Williams. FSG/Crichton, $27 (416p) ISBN 978-0-374-28009-3

Williams (When Women Were Birds), a longtime environmental activist, adds a meditative element to memoir as she shares her abiding love for America’s open spaces. She grew up in Utah, home to five national parks and seven national monuments, and writes of places such as the Grand Tetons in Wyoming, Big Bend National Park in Texas, and Glacier National Park in Montana. Some parks are new to Williams, and others are deeply familiar: Williams’s great-grandfather introduced Grand Teton National Park to his son, who introduced it to his sons, who in turn introduced it to her. Chapters on Big Bend and the Gulf Coast give Williams opportunities to address political and environmental issues, particularly calls for a wall to separate the U.S. from Mexico. “The 118-mile border that Big Bend National Park shares with Mexico would be closed not only to humans,” but to the “movement and migration” of an array of species that “have no understanding of man-made borders,” she writes. Similarly, her discussion of the Gulf Islands National Seashore centers on BP and the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill. In passionate and insightful prose, Williams celebrates the beauty of the American landscape while reinforcing the necessity of responsible stewardship. Illus. Agency: Brandt & Hochman Literary. (June)