Wallace Stegner
The Sound of Mountain Water
June 09, 2019 Comments.. 749
The Sound of Mountain Water A book of timeless importance about the American West our native home of hope The essays memoirs letters and speeches in this volume were written over a period of twenty five years a time in whic

  • Title: The Sound of Mountain Water
  • Author: Wallace Stegner
  • ISBN: 9780140266740
  • Page: 230
  • Format: Paperback
  • A book of timeless importance about the American West, our native home of hope The essays, memoirs, letters, and speeches in this volume were written over a period of twenty five years, a time in which the West witnessed rapid changes to its cultural and natural heritage, and Wallace Stegner emerged as an important conservationist and novelist This collection is dividedA book of timeless importance about the American West, our native home of hope The essays, memoirs, letters, and speeches in this volume were written over a period of twenty five years, a time in which the West witnessed rapid changes to its cultural and natural heritage, and Wallace Stegner emerged as an important conservationist and novelist This collection is divided into two sections the first features the eloquent sketches of the West s history and environment, directing our imagination to the sublime beauty of such places as San Juan and Glen Canyon the concluding section examines the state of Western literature, of the mythical past versus the diminished present, and analyzes the difficulties facing any contemporary Western writer The Sound of Mountain Water is at once a hymn to the Western landscape, an affirmation of the hope embodied therein, and a careful investigation to the West s complex legacy.

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    1 Blog on “The Sound of Mountain Water

    1. David Doty says:

      I have been slowly working my way through Wallace Stegner's entire body of work, and this collection of essays and letters ranks right up among his best. The first part presents a fascinating series of Stegner's personal journeys throughout the American West, describing road trips in the 40s through Arizona, Nevada, and Death Valley; a packhorse trip into Havasupai Canyons; and a boat excursion into Lake Powell. The second part is a terrific treatise on the importance and style of literature in [...]

    2. Paul Garns says:

      If you live west of Denver and haven't read Wallace Stegner, you're not living right. The essays collected here are a bit less accessible than some of his other stuff, but this one's worth the slog. My favorites were the essays on Havasupai Canyon and touring the Mojave Desert. It's a hymn to the West. Give it a whirl.

    3. Ginger says:

      Even if you know little, nothing or a great deal about the West, you should read this. Stegner's dedication to writing about the environment, people, and our place our roll in it is thoughtful and speculative. The first half of his book, (stories, essays, memoirs and thoughts over the twenty-five year period, approximately 1946 to 1969 about the settling of the dry West—everything west of the 100th meridian in America) is dedicated to water, landscape and the environment of change upon it. Eac [...]

    4. Tracy says:

      A collection of old essays written starting in the 1940's. I enjoyed them. I love Stegner's writing, especially when he's writing about places I know. My two favorites were "The Rediscovery of America: 1946. It is about a road trip from Salt Lake, down to Lake Mead, Deep Springs school, Death Valley and back. The other one I liked was "At Home in the Fields of the Lord", a tribute to hometowns; and Salt Lake City, in particular, as Stegner's hometown. I liked these quotes:"Any place deeply lived [...]

    5. Jeanette"Astute Crabbist" says:

      I enjoyed the first 169 pages of this book. I won't be reading beyond that. From page 170 on, the pieces are better suited to a college course on writers of the American West. I'm not fond of reading writers writing about the writing of other writers. The one exception being book introductions, which are often helpful. I really liked the pieces I did read because I have been to or near most of the places he wrote about: Death Valley, Grand Canyon, Glen Canyon, southern Utah, Mojave Desert. It wa [...]

    6. Lisa-Michele says:

      It is the writing, just the writing, that keeps me coming back. I’m lucky he writes about things I enjoy, like the west, but I'd probably read him describing cereal too. This collection of essays was written from the 1940s-1960s and Stegner himself admits it was written "in innocence, with a simple minded love of western landscape". Now he is older and wiser and, now, he is no fan of Lake Mead or Lake Powell. But the essays are priceless for the time and place they were written. "We simply nee [...]

    7. Greg says:

      I love Stegner. And I loved reading these essays, the best of which are travelogues through the American West. He's unique voice, and tragically under represented in the pantheon of America's great writers."The Rediscovery of America: 1946" describes his first road trip after the gas rationing of World War II. "One of the least-bearable wartime deprivations was the loss of our mobility. We are a wheeled people." It is beautifully nostalgic and typically (for Stegner) hopeful."Packhorse Paradise" [...]

    8. Mike Barnett says:

      The book has two parts: the first is very nice, but I wish I had skipped the second. The first part contains some nice essays about different places and experiences in the West. The second contains essays that are supposed to be literary criticism, but --- to me at least --- really fell flat. Still, I'm a complete Stegner junkie so I can't help but like it overall.

    9. andrea says:

      Loved the essays about his adventures in the back country the most. Love the way he writes.

    10. Liz VanDerwerken says:

      Stegner's "Crossing to Safety" is one of my very favorite books, and until recently I was not aware that Stegner also had this collection of non-fiction essays about the West! I began reading this just after a trip to Moab—Arches and Canyonlands—and his writing evokes these places in the very best ways, making history come alive as he touches on early expeditions as well as his own contemporary forays, which are now decades-old. I was so fascinated to read about Havasupai in the days before [...]

    11. Mehrsa says:

      This book really annoyed me and is the reason I am not a Stegnar fan. It's a compilation of essays by Stegnar about the Western man. I think it's arrogant and condescending. In one essay, he talks about how no one wants to hear about the Western man and how he (no doubt referring to himself) is screwed because he is too good and doesn't have the paranoia, disease, and narcissism that most of the "freak" writers have--like the blacks and homosexuals, etc. I don't think he meant anything racist or [...]

    12. John says:

      This was a great book to take camping in the Wasatch Mountains. Listening to Big Cottonwood Creek take a bite out of the canyons while reading about Stegner's journeys in similar landscapes was like connecting with an old friend. I even enjoyed his semi-cranky fusty criticisms of hippies in the last third of the essays.

    13. Kathy says:

      An interesting combination of thoughts about the West and thoughts about authors and books. This is a collection of essays. Several of which describe trips in the Western states in the 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s. Relaxing to read. Most of all, I am inspired now to seek out and read more books by Wallace Stegner, of which there are several, fortunately.

    14. Heather says:

      this book of essays has been my companion on all of this year's land trips and (almost) daily walks and hikes. i never tired of stegner's observant environmental history, beauty, culture. the sunset this evening that accompanied this completion was and felt truly vibrant. there could have been no better partner.

    15. Milo says:

      Stegner has earned the title of Dean of Western Writing and rightly so, at least in the realm of essay. His greatest commercial successes have been with his novels [Angle, Crossing to Safety, etc]. For those of us who live in the west and love it, Mountain Water shows us is a great writer's words why we do so. By far his best book of essays and is highly recommended.

    16. Judy says:

      Stegner is one of my favorite authors. These essays cover 25 years of reflections on the uniqueness of the western enigma and the evolution of his writing craft. (Stegner published from 1937-1992 and died in 1993.)

    17. Julia says:

      A wonderful collection of essays. I was surprised to find myself enjoying the essays in the second half - which was more about writing and historiography - even more than those in the first, which were not bad at all. Highly recommended.

    18. Emilydodge says:

      loved the first half, not so much the second. I enjoy reading about stegner's personal experiences, and about places in the west. for some reason the second half in which he talks about writing about the west did not interest me as I hoped it would.

    19. Drew Johnson says:

      Westerner can show the hopeless where hope comes from

    20. Rosa says:

      More series than his Collected Stories, but I love Stegner's passion for the environment and for the American West as it was.

    21. Catherine says:

      Stegner doesn't disappoint in this collection of essays written a number of years ago. In "Coda" he eloquently defends wilderness and public lands.

    22. Tattered Cover Book Store says:

      This book was recomended by author William deBuys as part of the Rocky Mountain Land Library's "A Reading List For the President Elect: A Western Primer for the Next Administration."

    23. Bud Evans says:

      Collection of essays. Wonderful essay on Glen Canyon and another on the importance of wilderness. If you like Stegner you'll like this.

    24. Nate Steed says:

      A book of Stegner's essays on environmentalism and conservatism. Some reads are better than others, but it's a good book to take on a camping trip and read in the forest.

    25. Gay says:

      Great book to read to English classes. Lots of philosophical discussion erupts. Not too mention how to describe a simple crossroads.

    26. Renah says:

      Excellent. Love his writing, love his insight on topics of as much importance now as they were when the essays were written. Stegner is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors.

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