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God's Country or Devil's Playground The Best Nature Writing from the Big Bend of Texas by Barney Nelson

God's Country or Devil's Playground The Best Nature Writing from the Big Bend of Texas

Part of the Corrie Herring Hooks Series Series


God's Country or Devil's Playground The Best Nature Writing from the Big Bend of Texas by Barney Nelson

The dramatic desert landscapes of the Big Bend country along the Texas-Mexico border reminded historian Walter Prescott Webb of an earth-wreck in which a great section of country was shaken down, turned over, blown up, and set on fire. By contrast, naturalist Aldo Leopold considered the region a mountainous paradise in which even the wild Mexican parrots had no greater concern than whether this new day which creeps slowly over the canyons is bluer or golder than its predecessors, or less so. Whether it impresses people as God's country or as the devil's playground, the Big Bend typically evokes strong responses from almost everyone who lives or visits there. In this anthology of nature writing, Barney Nelson gathers nearly sixty literary perspectives on the landscape and life of the Big Bend region, broadly defined as Trans-Pecos Texas and northern Chihuahua, Mexico. In addition to Leopold and Webb, the collection includes such well-known writers as Edward Abbey, Mary Austin, Roy Bedichek, and Frederick Olmsted, as well as a wide range of voices that includes explorers, trappers, cowboys, ranch wives, curanderos, college presidents, scientists, locals, tourists, historians, avisadores, and waitresses. Following a personal introduction by Barney Nelson, the pieces are grouped thematically to highlight the distinctive ways in which writers have responded to the Big Bend.

About the Author

BARNEY NELSON is Assistant Professor of English at Sul Ross State University in Alpine, Texas, and a widely published writer of both scholarly and popular material on nature and the American West.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st November 2002


Barney Nelson

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University of Texas Press


347 pages


Natural history



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