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Embrace Fearlessly the Burning World

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An urgent, deeply moving final work of nonfiction from the National Book Award-winning author of Arctic Dreams and Horizon, a literary icon whose writing, fieldwork, and mentorship inspired generations of writers and activists. ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2022--Lit Hub, BookPage An ardent steward of the land, fearless traveler, and unrivaled observer of nature and An urgent, deeply moving final work of nonfiction from the National Book Award-winning author of Arctic Dreams and Horizon, a literary icon whose writing, fieldwork, and mentorship inspired generations of writers and activists. ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2022--Lit Hub, BookPage An ardent steward of the land, fearless traveler, and unrivaled observer of nature and culture, Barry Lopez died after a long illness on Christmas Day 2020. The previous summer, a wildfire had consumed much of what was dear to him in his home place and the community around it--a tragic reminder of the climate change of which he'd long warned. At once a cri de coeur and a memoir of both pain and wonder, this remarkable collection of essays adds indelibly to Lopez's legacy, and includes previously unpublished works, some written in the months before his death. They unspool memories both personal and political, among them tender, sometimes painful stories of his childhood in New York City and California, reports from expeditions to study animals and sea life, recollections of travels to Antarctica and other extraordinary places on earth, and meditations on finding oneself amid vast, dramatic landscapes. He reflects on those who taught him, including Indigenous elders and scientific mentors who sharpened his eye for the natural world. We witness poignant returns from his travels to the sanctuary of his Oregon backyard, adjacent to the McKenzie River. And in prose of searing candor, he reckons with the cycle of life, including his own, and--as he has done throughout his career--with the dangers the earth and its people are facing. With an introduction by Rebecca Solnit that speaks to Lopez's keen attention to the world, including its spiritual dimensions, Embrace Fearlessly the Burning World opens our minds and souls to the importance of being wholly present for the beauty and complexity of life.


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An urgent, deeply moving final work of nonfiction from the National Book Award-winning author of Arctic Dreams and Horizon, a literary icon whose writing, fieldwork, and mentorship inspired generations of writers and activists. ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2022--Lit Hub, BookPage An ardent steward of the land, fearless traveler, and unrivaled observer of nature and An urgent, deeply moving final work of nonfiction from the National Book Award-winning author of Arctic Dreams and Horizon, a literary icon whose writing, fieldwork, and mentorship inspired generations of writers and activists. ONE OF THE MOST ANTICIPATED BOOKS OF 2022--Lit Hub, BookPage An ardent steward of the land, fearless traveler, and unrivaled observer of nature and culture, Barry Lopez died after a long illness on Christmas Day 2020. The previous summer, a wildfire had consumed much of what was dear to him in his home place and the community around it--a tragic reminder of the climate change of which he'd long warned. At once a cri de coeur and a memoir of both pain and wonder, this remarkable collection of essays adds indelibly to Lopez's legacy, and includes previously unpublished works, some written in the months before his death. They unspool memories both personal and political, among them tender, sometimes painful stories of his childhood in New York City and California, reports from expeditions to study animals and sea life, recollections of travels to Antarctica and other extraordinary places on earth, and meditations on finding oneself amid vast, dramatic landscapes. He reflects on those who taught him, including Indigenous elders and scientific mentors who sharpened his eye for the natural world. We witness poignant returns from his travels to the sanctuary of his Oregon backyard, adjacent to the McKenzie River. And in prose of searing candor, he reckons with the cycle of life, including his own, and--as he has done throughout his career--with the dangers the earth and its people are facing. With an introduction by Rebecca Solnit that speaks to Lopez's keen attention to the world, including its spiritual dimensions, Embrace Fearlessly the Burning World opens our minds and souls to the importance of being wholly present for the beauty and complexity of life.

30 review for Embrace Fearlessly the Burning World

  1. 5 out of 5

    Nancy

    When they first came out, I had read Barry Lopez’s award winning books Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape and Of Wolves and Men. I knew the beauty and insight of Lopez’s writing, but had not read him in decades. Prepared by Lopez before his death, these essays include autobiographical accounts of his childhood that wrecked me. He endured years of sexual abuse by a family friend. And yet, his love of where he grew up never left him. I understand the longing for one’s fir When they first came out, I had read Barry Lopez’s award winning books Arctic Dreams: Imagination and Desire in a Northern Landscape and Of Wolves and Men. I knew the beauty and insight of Lopez’s writing, but had not read him in decades. Prepared by Lopez before his death, these essays include autobiographical accounts of his childhood that wrecked me. He endured years of sexual abuse by a family friend. And yet, his love of where he grew up never left him. I understand the longing for one’s first world, our natal landscape, and how it shapes us. You can never have the childhood again though the desire for the innocence of those days overwhelms you from time to time to time. And then you learn to love what you have more than what you had. Or thought you had. from Embrace Fearlessly the Burning World by Barry Lopez Remarkably, he had considered entering the priesthood, inspired by Teilhard de Chardin, “leading a life of inquiry into secular and sacred mystery.” Then, he considered aeronautical engineering before turning to the arts as his major. For which I am thankful, for his writing combines a reverence and deep insight into our connection to the world and each other. His keen observation and scientific and historic and literary knowledge is married to spiritual depth and mysticism. Lopez asks us to pay attention. “Each place it itself only, and nowhere repeated. Miss it and it’s gone,” he wrote. He traveled to eighty countries and in the essays he writes about how he went into the land to experience it wholly, becoming ‘intimate’ with the Earth. He warns that understanding should not be our goal as much as experiencing, being present. When I was young, when outdoors I would just stop and listen and watch, like an animal does. After paying attention, and being patient, he asks us to be attentive. Lopez writes about ‘the failure to love’ evidenced all around us, the way we use and destroy the world and each other. In light of warfare and all the social and political ills of our world, in light of the degradation of the environment, Lopez queries, “is it still possible to face the gathering darkness and say to the physical Earth, and to all its creatures, including ourselves, fiercely and without embarrassment, I love you, and to embrace fearlessly the burning world?” I was reminded again of the remarkable vision and gift of Barry Lopez. I received a free egalley from the publisher through NetGalley. My review is fair and unbiased.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Laura Rogers

    GiBarry Lopez was a humanitarian, environmentalist, world traveler and a National Book Award winning writer. His books (including Artic Dreams, Of Wolves and Men, Horizon, and Crossing Open Ground) have deservedly earned him something of a cult following. His last book, Embrace Fearlessly the Burning World is a collection of essays, mostly about nature and culture with some personal stories (warning: includes sexual abuse). In all of his works Barry Lopez shared with us his spiritual reverence f GiBarry Lopez was a humanitarian, environmentalist, world traveler and a National Book Award winning writer. His books (including Artic Dreams, Of Wolves and Men, Horizon, and Crossing Open Ground) have deservedly earned him something of a cult following. His last book, Embrace Fearlessly the Burning World is a collection of essays, mostly about nature and culture with some personal stories (warning: includes sexual abuse). In all of his works Barry Lopez shared with us his spiritual reverence for the natural world and everything in it. His expertise across disparate fields was remarkable. In Embrace Fearlessly the Burning World, Lopez is forthcoming about the dangers we are facing and reminds of us of the need to be better stewards of everything found in nature. I particularly enjoyed his respectful portrayal of indigenous populations, recognizing all they have to offer in terms of wisdom and ways of being in the world. I highly recommend this beautiful memoir of a life well-lived, We can all benefit from following his example focusing on the journey rather than the destination and immersing ourselves in nature as often as possible. Thank you to Random House for a drc.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Ula Tardigrade

    Barry Lopez is one of my favorite writers. I remember how anxious I was when I learned about his illness, how devastated when I heard about the wildfire that destroyed his home, and how I grieved when the news of his death came. His Horizon is one of the most beautiful and profound books that I have ever read. I am glad that he lived long enough to leave it behind as a gift for us all. And here is another gift from him, the last one – this collection of his essays. It is a pleasure to be able onc Barry Lopez is one of my favorite writers. I remember how anxious I was when I learned about his illness, how devastated when I heard about the wildfire that destroyed his home, and how I grieved when the news of his death came. His Horizon is one of the most beautiful and profound books that I have ever read. I am glad that he lived long enough to leave it behind as a gift for us all. And here is another gift from him, the last one – this collection of his essays. It is a pleasure to be able once more to accompany him on his travels and be inspired by his writing. I think that every fan of Barry Lopez will appreciate it but it can also be a good entry point for someone who doesn’t know his books and was perhaps intimidated by the sheer scale of Horizon, for example. Thanks to this volume a reader can begin with small doses, relishing his words and getting to know him as a human. Thanks to the publisher, Random House, and NetGalley for an advanced copy of this book.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Susan Tunis

    4.5 stars.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Dennis

    I recall Of Wolves and Men as one of the earliest contemporary books which helped strengthen my strong interest in the natural world. That said, Barry Lopez never became one of my very favorite writers. I usually found his style a little dry, and I also never really embraced the constant world travel aspect of some nature writing. But this is a good collection including pieces published from 1989 to after his death. The essay from 1989 was a little dated in some of its environmental concerns, bu I recall Of Wolves and Men as one of the earliest contemporary books which helped strengthen my strong interest in the natural world. That said, Barry Lopez never became one of my very favorite writers. I usually found his style a little dry, and I also never really embraced the constant world travel aspect of some nature writing. But this is a good collection including pieces published from 1989 to after his death. The essay from 1989 was a little dated in some of its environmental concerns, but otherwise good. The essays which had the strongest effect on me were about the Arctic and Antarctic, his childhood sexual abuse, and the deterioration of his aging body including his cancer diagnosis. The introduction by Rebecca Solnit and the closing words from Lopez’s wife Debra Gwartney are also strong, and made me appreciate Lopez more. Thanks to Random House and NetGalley for the early copy to review.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

    While reading the last three pages of this powerful book, I learned that a lovely friend had just passed. I wasn't sure if I should write this review now or wait a few days until the emotions have settled in my heart. I have chosen to finish this review so that I can tell you two things: #1. It is a wonderful book, full of stories that made me want to always take a closer look at everything, just as I felt after reading "Arctic Dreams." #2 - A warning -- the subject matter in the chapter, "a Sli While reading the last three pages of this powerful book, I learned that a lovely friend had just passed. I wasn't sure if I should write this review now or wait a few days until the emotions have settled in my heart. I have chosen to finish this review so that I can tell you two things: #1. It is a wonderful book, full of stories that made me want to always take a closer look at everything, just as I felt after reading "Arctic Dreams." #2 - A warning -- the subject matter in the chapter, "a Sliver of Sky" is quite serious and may not be suitable for all souls. It is about the sexual abuse he experienced as a child. My respect for him as a writer and person is more profound than ever.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Francisco Valdes

    Barry Lopez is a masterful writer. You get drawn to his beautiful prose that kindles and stirs your feelings in a profound and meaningful way This, his last collection of essays is as clear-eyed and passionate and full of writing skills as anything he ever wrote. Barry Lopez will be really, really missed

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lea

    Requested on Overdrive

  9. 4 out of 5

    Cassandra

    Always enjoyable to read Lopez, a bit spotty but always brillant

  10. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Pf

  11. 5 out of 5

    Lindsay

  12. 4 out of 5

    heather

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tony

  14. 5 out of 5

    K A

  15. 5 out of 5

    Carl

  16. 5 out of 5

    Tucker

  17. 5 out of 5

    Crystal

  18. 5 out of 5

    Simon Freeman

  19. 5 out of 5

    Charles J Bondurant

  20. 4 out of 5

    Aarik Danielsen

  21. 5 out of 5

    Maggie Moehringer

  22. 5 out of 5

    Miquixote

  23. 4 out of 5

    Psychonaut

  24. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

  25. 5 out of 5

    Nathan Hughes

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sam

  27. 5 out of 5

    Cole Benson

  28. 5 out of 5

    Eric Thorsen

  29. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

  30. 5 out of 5

    SergioQ

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