In 1851, a war began in what would become Yosemite National Park, a war against the indigenous inhabitants that has yet to come to a real conclusion. A century later—1951—and about a hundred and fifty miles away, another war began when the U. S. government started setting off nuclear bombs at the Nevada Test Site, in what was called a nuclear testing program but functioned as a war against the land and people of the Great Basin. Savage Dreams is an exploration of these two landscapes. Together they serve as our national Eden and Armageddon and offer up a lot of the history of the west, not only in terms of Indian and environmental wars, but in terms of the relationship between culture—the generation of beliefs and views—and its implementation as politics.
Rebecca Solnit is the author of A Book of Migrations: Some Passages in Ireland (1997), among other books. She lives in San Francisco. In 2003, she was awarded the Lannan Literary Award for Nonfiction.
"A beautiful, absorbing, tragic book. . . . Rebecca Solnit tells this story with the passion and clarity it deserves."—Larry McMurtry
"Savage Dreams summons us to the campfires of resistance."—Mike Davis, author of City of Quartz
"Savage Dreams is about many things: despoliation and restoration, finding a voice between contemporary noise and silence, making friends and enemies. Most of all, though, it may be about a journey into history: about how understanding history and making it are not really very different."—Greil Marcus, author of Lipstick Traces
"A wonderful and important book, weaving past and present, politics and spirituality, land and history, pleasure and outrage, esthetics and activism, into a map where we as Americans find ourselves today. Intellectually challenging but beautifully written and eminently readable, Savage Dreams has both heart and teeth." —Lucy Lippard, author of Overlay: Contemporary Art and the Art of Prehistory
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