Cover Image

Larger ImageView Larger


Savage Dreams

A Journey into the Hidden Wars of the American West, 20th Anniversary Edition, with a New Preface

Rebecca Solnit (Author)


Adobe PDF E-Book
ISBN: 9780520957923
ePUB Format
ISBN: 9780520957923
Other Formats Available:

Please note: UC Press e-books must be purchased separately from our print books, and require the use of Adobe Digital Editions. If you do not already have Adobe Digital Editions installed on your computer, please download and install the software. To complete your e-book order, please click on the e-book checkout button. A charge will appear on your credit card from Ingram Digital Group.

"A beautiful, absorbing, tragic book."—Larry McMurtry

In 1851, a war began in what would become Yosemite National Park, a war against the indigenous inhabitants. A century later–in 1951–and a hundred and fifty miles away, another war began when the U.S. government started setting off nuclear bombs at the Nevada Test Site. It was called a nuclear testing program, but functioned as a war against the land and people of the Great Basin.

In this foundational book of landscape theory and environmental thinking, Rebecca Solnit explores our national Eden and Armageddon and offers a pathbreaking history of the west, focusing on the relationship between culture and its implementation as politics. In a new preface, she considers the continuities and changes of these invisible wars in the context of our current climate change crisis, and reveals how the long arm of these histories continue to inspire her writing and hope.
New Preface

From Hell to Breakfast
Like Moths to a Candle
April Fool's Day
Lise Meitner's Walking Shoes
Golden Hours and Iron County
Ruby Valley and the Ranch
The War
Keeping Pace with the Tortoise

The Rainbow
Framing the View
Vanishing (Remaining)
Fire in the Garden
The Name of the Snake
Up the River of Mercy
Savage's Grave
Full Circle

Rebecca Solnit is the author of many books, including Storming the Gates of Paradise, Infinite City: A San Francisco Atlas, and Unfathomable City: A New Orleans Atlas, all from UC Press.
"A beautiful, absorbing, tragic book. . . . Rebecca Solnit tells this story with the passion and clarity it deserves."—Larry McMurtry

“The product of a stunningly original and expansive imagination. Savage Dreams ties together the histories of Yosemite National Park and the Nevada Test Site… to illuminate the political stakes of how we think about, and act upon, the landscape.” —SF Weekly

"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

Join UC Press

Members receive 20-40% discounts on book purchases. Find out more