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The Immeasurable World: Journeys in Desert Places

For all the desert's dreamlike beauty, to travel here was not just to pitch yourself into oblivion: it was to grind away at yourself until nothing was left. It was to aspire to the condition of sand. One third of the earth's land surface is desert, much of it desolate and inhospitable. What is it about this harsh environment that has captivated humankind throughout history? From the prophets of the Bible to Marco Polo, Lawrence of Arabia to Gertrude Bell, travellers have often seen deserts as cursed places to be avoided, or crossed as quickly as possible. But for those whose call deserts home, the 'hideous blanks' described by explorers are rich in resources and significance.Travelling to five continents over three years, visiting deserts both iconic and little-known, William Atkins discovers a realm that is as much internal as physical. His journey takes him to the Arabian Peninsula's Empty Quarter and Australia's nuclear-test grounds; the dry Aral Sea of Kazakhstan and 'sand seas' of...

Title : The Immeasurable World: Journeys in Desert Places
Author :
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ISBN : 9780571319725
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 416 pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Immeasurable World: Journeys in Desert Places Reviews

  • John

    An unusual travelogue based on the writer's travel through some of earth's most inaccessible places -- deserts. An interesting combination of history, geography, literature, and even some philosophy. In total he visits 8 deserts on 5 continents.

  • Rebecca

    (3.5) Atkins has produced an appealing blend of vivid travel anecdotes, historical background and philosophical musings. He is always conscious that he is treading in the footsteps of earlier adventurers. He has no illusions about being a pioneer here; rather, he eagerly picks up the thematic threads others have spun out of desert experience and runs with them – things like solitude, asceticism, punishment for wrongdoing and environmental degradation. The book is composed of seven long chapters, ...more

  • Linda

    Rather than satisfying me with a book similar to two of my favorites: Desert Solitaire and The Man Who Walked Through Time, which are both about solitary sojourns in desert national parks, British author Atkins challenges by exploring some of the world's great deserts with guides in search of human activity. The deserts he visits, from the Taklamakan in extreme western China to the Black Rock in Nevada, are not quite pristine, and several of them are scenes of conflict and tension. His stay at t ...more

  • Tory

    I almost gave this book 4 stars instead of 5 because I could not 'categorize' it. It combines history, theology, philosophy,politics, science, travelogue, literature, poetry ..... about 8 deserts around the world. Atkins starts the book in the Empty Quarter, Oman, with the Desert Fathers of early Christian monasticsm, then moves on to the Great Victoria Desert, Australia, The Gobi Desert and the Taklamakan Desert, China, and the Aralkum, Kazakhstan, providing descriptions and insights into the c ...more

  • Bronwen Griffiths

    I love visiting deserts and love reading about them. William Atkins is a fantastic guide. A mix of the personal - including meetings with local people - plus historical and political context makes this an engrossing read. I was particularly moved by his account of Maralinga, site of the British nuclear tests in the 1950's.

  • Paul

    Atkins is the latest one to be drawn to those impenetrable places, deserts. He joins an illustrious list of explorers and people who are seeking something amongst the arid sands. The geographer definition of a desert is somewhere that has less than 250mm of rain per year, but for those that know what to look for, they can be places of riches and places where life is right at the edge, but they are not lifeless if you know where to look. Atkins is not fully sure what he is seeking though, his par ...more