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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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1.0 out of 5 stars A ramble to nowhere March 29 2002
By A Customer
This book is a review of various hallucinations of the author encountered during his pointless wanderings (mostly by vehicle) through the desert country of the Southwest. He never seems to get to the locations of Ruess' disappearance, and evades them by taking us to Moab and other irrelevant places where he had happened to park his car in the past. He offers several far out theories on Ruess' disappearance, but nothing useful except for the names of several persons who might have absconded with Ruess' possessions but never capitalized on them. The author is the exploiter, capitalizing on the Ruess name and story to sell a book. Nice cover.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Best naturalist work on Escalante Jan. 16 2001
By A Customer
This book is a most thoughtful and insightful view into the reasons we seek out nature and journey into the unknown. Like Ruess, author Taylor takes us on his own personal journey into one of the most breathtaking geographys in the world. The book is not meant to be a definative work on what happened to Ruess but rather a deep reflective journey into our souls. Unlike the previous reviewer who referred to the book as a novel, it is creative non-fiction and was named best creative non-fiction book of the year 1998 by the western writers of America. I have read the book three times and all the published reviews, more than twenty. All consider the writing excellent, thoughtful and filled with bits of philosophy about life. Critisms include editing errors.
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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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