Among the most important books, timely and timeless, to be published in 2015, environmental studies scholar Lauret Savoy’s moving, beautiful Trace: Memory, History, Race, and the American Landscape (Counterpoint Press, newly in paperback) has been working its way into more and more readers’ hands, truly a word-of-mouth book - which is how most books of lasting significance work their way around. Recipient of a Before Columbus Foundation American Book Award and shortlisted or a finalist for the PEN American Open Book Award, the William Saroyan International Prize for Writing, and the Phillis Wheatley Book Award, Trace has also been garnering due recognition in those ways, as well. “Savoy is a geologist at Mount Holyoke, but this sui generis creation, wherein John McPhee meets James Baldwin, dissolves all academic boundaries. Trace is a memoir, a meditation on landscape and identity, and a travelogue with a mission. ‘As an Earth historian,’ writes Savoy, ‘I once sought the relics of deep time. To be an honest woman, I must trace other residues of hardness.’ Digging for her family roots in America’s tripartite legacy—natives, African slaves, and European settlers—she unearths some genealogy, but more fruitful are the connections she makes between philosophy, ecology, and race.” — Boris Kachka, Vulture (New York Magazine). “We have waited a very long time for Trace by Lauret Savoy. Too long. Her words are a stunning excavation and revelation of race, identity, and the American landscape. I have never read a more beautiful, smart, and vulnerable accounting of how we are shaped by memory in place. This braiding of personal history with geology and the systematic erasure of “Other” in pursuit of Manifest Destiny is a stratigraphy of conscience and consciousness. What Lauret Savoy creates on the page is as breathtaking as the view she saw as a child as she stood on the edge of the Grand Canyon with her parents and learned land does not hate, people do. I stand in awe of Lauret Savoy’s wisdom and compassionate intelligence. Trace is a crucial book for our time, a bound sanity, not a forgiveness, but a reckoning.” —Terry Tempest Williams.