Originally published in 1986, Blue Desert is a critical piece in the oeuvre of Charles Bowden.In the promised land of the Sunbelt, people come by the thousands to escape the crush of Eastern cities and end up duplicating the very world they have fled. Can the land remain unchanged?
In Blue Desert, Charles Bowden presents a view of the Southwest that seeks to measure how rapid growth has taken its toll on the land. Writing with a reporter's objectivity and a desert rat's passion, Bowden takes us into the streets as well as the desert to depict not a fragile environment but the unavoidable reality of abuse, exploitation, and human cruelty. Blue Desert shows us the Sunbelt's darker side as it has developed in recent times – where “the land always makes promises of aching beauty and the people always fail the land” – and defies us to ignore it.
Blue Desert has no boundaries, no terrain, no topographical coordinates; it is a state of mind inescapable to one who sees change and knows that nothing can be done to stop it.
A heartbreakingly thoughtful new foreword by Francisco Cantú will bring this classic to a new audience.
Charles Bowden (1945–2014) was the author of many acclaimed books about the American Southwest and U.S.-Mexico border issues. He was a contributing editor for GQ, Harper’s, Esquire, and Mother Jones. His honors include a PEN First Amendment Award and the Lannan Literary Award for Nonfiction.
Francisco Cantú is the author of The Line Becomes a River: Dispatches from the Border. A former Fulbright fellow, he is the recipient of a Pushcart Prize and a 2017 Whiting Award.
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