The Land of Little Rain: Facsimile of Original 1904 Edition

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Sunstone Press, 2007 - Travel - 320 pages
2 Reviews
In 1903 when "The Land of Little Rain" was first published it became an instant success. It has continued to attract and enchant readers ever since that time. It was one of the first books to be written in a popular style about the animals, plants and people of a Southwest desert area. Mary Austin wrote it from her own observations and experiences in the field. She lived the book. It is also one of the first to express the need for the conservation of our natural resources. Carl Van Doren once wrote that Austin should have the degree M.A.E.--Master of American Environment. The book, a work of authenticity and originality still has meaning for twenty-first century readers. Mary Austin (nee Hunter) was born in Carlinville, Illinois in 1868 and died in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1934. After graduation from Blackburn College, she moved with her family to California. She later spent time in New York and eventually settled in Santa Fe. A prolific writer, she wrote novels, short stories, essays, plays and poetry. Austin became an early advocate for environmental issues as well as the rights of women and other minority groups. She was particularly interested in the preservation of American Indian culture.
 

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User Review  - Sarah_Buckley - LibraryThing

This might be a great book for people who like to read long, flowery descriptions of scenery and what animals are doing. I personally found it slooooow and boring. I was forced to read it for school ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Paulagraph - LibraryThing

"Mary Austin was convinced that the valley [Owens Valley*] had died when it sold its first water right to Los Angeles--that city would never stop until it owned the whole river and all of the land ... Read full review

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Page 21 - Chaldeans were a desert-bred people. It is hard to escape the sense of mastery as the stars move in the wide clear heavens to risings and settings unobscured. They look large and near and palpitant ; as if they moved on some stately service not needful to declare. Wheeling to their stations in the sky, they make the poor world-fret of no account.
Page 11 - Tormented, thin forests of it stalk drearily in the high mesas, particularly in that triangular slip that fans out eastward from the meeting of the Sierras and coastwise hills where the first swings across the southern end of the San Joaquin Valley. The yucca bristles with bayonet-pointed leaves, dull green, growing shaggy with age, tipped with panicles of fetid, greenish bloom. After death, which is slow, the ghostly hollow network of its woody skeleton, with hardly power to rot, makes the moonlight...
Page 19 - The palpable sense of mystery in the desert air breeds fables, chiefly of lost treasure. Somewhere within its stark borders, if one believes report, is a hill strewn with nuggets; one seamed with virgin silver; an old clayey water-bed where Indians scooped up earth to make cooking pots and shaped them reeking with grains of pure gold. Old miners drifting about the desert edges, weathered into the semblance of the tawny hills, will tell you tales like these convincingly. After a little sojourn in...
Page 17 - Williams tell how he used to drive eighteen and twenty-mule teams from the borax marsh to Mojave, ninety miles, with the trail wagon full of water barrels. Hot days the mules would go so mad for drink that the clank of the water bucket set them into an uproar of hideous, maimed noises, and a tangle of harness chains, while Salty would sit on the high seat with the sun glare heavy in his eyes, dealing out curses of pacification in a level, uninterested voice until the clamor fell off from sheer exhaustion....
Page 10 - Most species have well-defined areas of growth, the best index the voiceless land can give the traveler of his whereabouts. If you have any doubt about it, know that the desert begins with the creosote. This immortal shrub spreads down into Death Valley and up to the lower timber-line, odorous and medicinal as you might guess from the name, wandlikc, with shining fretted foliage.
Page 5 - ... traces. The sculpture of the hills here is more wind than water work, though the quick storms do sometimes scar them past many a year's redeeming. In all the Western desert edges there are essays in miniature at the famed, terrible Grand Canon, to which, if you keep on long enough in this country, you will come at last...

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Greg Garrard
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