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September 28 , 2007

Chuckwalla Land

The Riddle of California's Desert


Described as "a writer in the tradition of Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, and other self-educated seers" by the San Francisco Chronicle, David Rains Wallace turns his attention in this new book to another distinctive corner of California—its desert, the driest and hottest environment in North America. Drawing from his frequent forays to Death Valley, Red Rock Canyon, Kelso Dunes, and other locales, Wallace illuminates the desert’s intriguing flora and fauna as he explores a controversial, unresolved scientific debate about the origin and evolution of its unusual ecosystems. Eminent scientists and scholars appear throughout these pages, including maverick paleobiologist Daniel Axelrod, botanist Ledyard Stebbins, and naturalists Edmund Jaeger and Joseph Wood Krutch. Weaving together ecology, geology, natural history, and mythology in his characteristically eloquent voice, Wallace reveals that there is more to this starkly beautiful landscape than meets the eye.

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