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Sandstone Sunsets [Paperback]

Mark Taylor
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Aug. 1 1998
It is difficult to explain what gets under a persons skin and sets him or her off on the road to solve a puzzle or riddle that any reasonable person might - quickly conclude was unsolvable. The 1934 disappearance of poet and adventurer Everett Ruess in Utah's red rock country is the mystery that is under author Mark A. Taylor's skin, but his attempts to solve this mystery led him in an unexpected direction-within. In his southern Utah treks, Taylor encounters hikers,Native Americans, artists, Vietnam vets, and other colorful characters. Still, his most significant encounter is himself, and, though he may never discover the remains of Ruess, his self-discovery is the unexpected bonus. Shortly before vanishing, Everett Ruess wrote of his affinity with nature and his love of the desert, "This trip will be longer than I expected, for I will Le in many beautiful places, and do not wish to taste, hut to drink deep." These words become a metaphor lor the journeyof sell-discovery experienced through Sandstone Sunsets.

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Customer Reviews

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This book is not the book to buy, if you're looking for 1) an authoritative biography on the life of Everett Ruess 2) a groundbreaking investigativation into the circumstances surrounding Everett Ruess' disappearance 3) an exciting novel about daring adventures in the Escalante National Monument
The highs and lows of this book are in actuality quite mundane. From the bickering between hiker and irresponsible tourists and the silliness of shouting "Everett Ruess, where are you?" in the middle of nowhere.
However, having hiked Davis Gulch to Lake Powell, searching for hints to the Ruess mystery, and locating Nemo inscriptions, I still enjoyed this book.
The Escalante National Monument area, recently "protected" by Bill Clinton in his second term, is a fabulous wilderness area located in Southern Utah, near the Arizona border. To explore this area frequently is to know the story of Everett Ruess. Not just of the plot, but also the emotion that must have motivated Ruess to his untimely demise.
Sandstone Sunsets relates the story of Everett Ruess and more importantly the author's introspective search for the truth behind his disappearance. This book lacks any groundbreaking physical evidence or testimony, and certainly doesn't reach the level of depth that Krakauer's novel "Into the Wild" achieves in examining the journey of Alex McCandless. Of course it's a lot more difficult task for the author, since the aforementioned events took place a generation ago.
Taylor (the author) reaches some pretty wild conclusions and speculations. Nevertheless from the perspective of someone who has been to Escalante repeatedly, I found the novel very entertaining. Sandstone Sunsets deals with physical territory with which I'm familiar with, and passionate about.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A search for Everett becomes a search for self. Feb. 25 1999
By A Customer
I recommend Taylor's book to you who have read W.L.Rusho's "Everett Reuss" and understand Everett's mystical nature in his exploration of himself as well as the wilderness he so loved. Also your appreciation will be greatly enhanced if you are familiar with the country Everett traveled. This book is not a serious effort to solve the mystery of Everett's disappeareance. Rather, as Taylor retraces Everett's steps he describes his own spiritual journey; his personal counterpart to Everett's quest over the same territory a half century earlier. Taylor writes, "I knew my search for Everett had become more important than finding him." Reuss was a romantic, so is Taylor. The inner exporation is what counts, the physical exploration merely the vehicle for self-undertanding. If you are literal minded this book will disappoint. Me, I enjoyed the book. I thought it well written and organized and a quick, easy read. It enriched my understanding of the spiritual journey of Everett and its parallel in my own life. A negative. I found the speculations about Emery Kolb, etc, so far-fetched as to be bizarre; but Taylor never offers these as serious possibilities. Still, it were better had they been omitted. There were some minor errors in the book as has been pointed out by other reviewers; but they appeared to me to be editing mistakes, not those of the author. All in all, for me a very worthwhile read; but then I am so in love with Everett Reuss I make no claim to objectivity.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Poorly edited, egotistical guy, glaring mistakes July 18 1998
By A Customer
I'm fascinated by the story of Everett Ruess and picked this up in hopes of finding out more, maybe a contemporary search for clues and visit to places that Ruess loved. Instead, there are glaring mistakes, some preposterous theories (Emery Kolb killed Ruess in a homosexual spat?!?!?!), and far too much attention spent on the author's problems within himself. I haven't stopped by a 7-11 or Circle K on the navajo Reservation recently and assume that alcohol is still not sold there, but he talks of helping an obviously drunk Navajo buying more in Kayenta. There are some basic errors - Cocochina County instead of Coconino, Rosebud Canyon, instead of Redbud Canyon heading toward Rainbow Bridge, but his theory that Emery Kolb had the hots for Ruess and killed him when he was spurned by Ruess, hiding the body in his boathouse at the South Rim, just about turned my stomach. Having helped to move things out of Kolb Studio after Kolb's death in 1977 (not 1978), I have no rec! ollection of anyone finding a body hidden on the property and there would be no other boathouse at the South Rim. Don't give this guy any more money.
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