From the National Book Award-winning author of the now-classic Arctic Dreams, a vivid, poetic, capacious work that recollects the travels around the world and the encounters--human, animal, and natural--that have shaped an extraordinary life.
Taking us nearly from pole to pole--from modern megacities to some of the most remote regions on the earth--and across decades of lived experience, Barry Lopez, hailed by the Los Angeles Times Book Review as "one of our finest writers," gives us his most far-ranging yet personal work to date, in a book that moves indelibly, immersively, through his travels to six regions of the world: from Western Oregon to the High Arctic; from the Galápagos to the Kenyan desert; from Botany Bay in Australia to finally, unforgettably, the ice shelves of Antarctica.
As he takes us on these myriad travels, Lopez also probes the long history of humanity's quests and explorations, including the prehistoric peoples who trekked across Skraeling Island in northern Canada, the colonialists who plundered Central Africa, an enlightenment-era Englishman who sailed the Pacific, a Native American emissary who found his way into isolationist Japan, and today's ecotourists in the tropics. Throughout his journeys--to some of the hottest, coldest, and most desolate places on the globe--and via friendships he forges along the way with scientists, archaeologists, artists and local residents, Lopez searches for meaning and purpose in a broken world.
Horizon is a revelatory, epic work that voices concern and frustration along with humanity and hope--a book that makes you see the world differently, and that is the crowning achievement by one of America's great thinkers and most humane voices.
About the Author
Barry Lopez is the author of two collections of essays; several story collections; Arctic Dreams, for which he received the National Book Award; Of Wolves and Men, a National Book Award finalist, and Crow and Weasel, a novella-length fable. He contributes regularly to both American and foreign journals and has traveled to more than 70 countries to conduct research. He is the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim, Lannan, and National Science Foundations and has been honored by a number of institutions for his literary, humanitarian, and environmental work. Additional information at barrylopez.com.
“Barry Lopez is a straight-up magnificent writer. To read Horizon is to be transported to wondrous landscapes far beyond the pale, and thereby obtain an astounding perspective on our increasingly uncertain future. Lopez expresses faith that our species can avert annihilation by investing ‘more deeply in the philosopher’s cardinal virtues’: courage, justice, reverence, and compassion—virtues this book possesses in abundance.” —Jon Krakauer
“A celebration and investigation of the impulse to explore, Horizon is itself an exploration—of both the human and inhuman worlds. In his intensity, his clarity, and his capacity for wonder, Barry Lopez is unmatched.” —Elizabeth Kolbert
“A huge-hearted, wise and sorrowful book by the Philosopher-King of Gaia. A masterpiece.” —Joy Williams
“Literary journalism, memoir and travelogue: so compelling it deserves its own genre.” —Bethanne Patrick, The Washington Post
“Subtle, monumental, rich, spare: this opus by acclaimed writer Lopez contains and transcends contradictions. A reflection on journeys with researchers, into history, and across continents. . . Above all, he asks what, amid existential crises, we seek beyond the horizon’s line.” —Barbara Kiser, Nature
“Epic…by turns unsettling and sublime. A bracing masterpiece for a broken world—the crowning achievement of a legendary scribe, a writer whose eyes never stray from the long view. Lopez searches out other ways of knowing, and contemplates the meaning of horizons—places actual and metaphorical where the earth meets the sky, and knowledge meets speculation. This is Lopez’s most autobiographical work. But the Earth is Horizon’s true protagonist, and at stake is our collective future on it.” —Kate Harris, Outside
“Riveting, seductive, and beautifully written. I don’t know of any other writer who so mesmerizingly, so seemingly effortlessly, weaves together art, science and poetry—I found myself underlining sentences on every page. Barry Lopez is one of my literary heroes.” —Andrea Wulf
"Nobody journeys like Barry Lopez. He's humble, he's ethical, he's honest, he's curious, he's doubtful, he's properly sad and he's wild. He wakes us up to the worth and the mystery of the world. His great affection for humanity comes up from every patch of earth he visits. This is an epic book that goes from pole to pole, and yet manages to make a distinct 'everywhere' out of each little patch he visits. A glorious book, gloriously told." —Colum McCann
"Lopez feels a bit like an American Virgil, one who can go above and below at the same time, leading us from sights of tremendous hope and peace, from the real to the dreamed. Lopez has managed to fashion his own kind of travel literature, one which doesn’t merely report from distant places, but enlarges by refusing to place a center to the world. In his pages, through his journeys, the center is always the horizon. By staring at it—alongside many other people from places a long ways from his own Oregon—Lopez shows us what we gain when we respect the enormity of what we don’t know, and also what we’d lose were we to erase nature’s ways of knowing.” —John Freeman, Lit Hub
“An essential voice in American writing. Barry Lopez’s stories of inquiry and discovery are gloriously riveting, bringing the reader into a research boat, an archaeological site, a night-tent conversation, water forty feet under the edge of an ice shelf. At each place where he turns his eye and mind, something is learned of existence’s richness and meaning. A master work. This book is a map to treasures everywhere buried.” —Jane Hirshfield
“No one has worked harder to make sense of our present civilization than Barry Lopez, and in these chronicles we get to share the travels that helped shape his extraordinary mind and heart. A great gift to us all.” —Bill McKibben
“The world is vast, and so are the heart and the curiosity of Barry Lopez. His voice is incomparable and necessary. No one else alive, to my knowledge, thinks so carefully about the moral dimensions of landscape.” —David Quammen
“Magnificent; brilliant. . . a contemporary epic, a life journey, urgent, personal and oracular. It has always been among Lopez’s great powers as a writer to bring the natural world to resonate metaphysically . . . Again and again, phenomenal presences—birds, elk, rocks, ice—ring like struck bells in the mind. Lopez’s writing throughout this book is pulled taut between his need to register the extreme urgency of the environmental crisis, and his long-held belief in time, patience and the careful observation of other cultures. A sense of vibrancy shivers throughout the book; Lopez’s glittering prose becomes a concentrating mechanism. Superb . . . challenging and symphonic; a beautiful book, 35 years in the writing, but still speaking to the present moment.” —Robert Macfarlane, The Guardian (UK)
"I am astonished by this book, and delighted by its deep musicality. The scope and depth of Horizon are staggering—it is symphonic in scale and tone, and as contrapuntal as a Bach fugue."
—John Luther Adams, Pulitzer-Prize winning composer
“[Lopez] blends vivid reportage on landscapes, wildlife, and the knotty relationships among the scientists he accompanies with larger musings on natural history, environmental and climate crises, and the sins of Western imperialism in erasing indigenous cultures . . . His prose is so evocative and his curiosity so infectious that readers will be captivated.” —Publishers Weekly
“Revelatory. . . Attentive in the world, rigorous on the page, morally inquisitive and bracingly candid, Lopez is a writer of conscience who illuminates the nexus between natural and human history. In his most encompassing, autobiographical, passionately detailed, and reflective book—a life’s travelogue—he shares memories, stories, observations, concerns, condemnations, and hope. ‘Each place on earth goes deep,’ writes Lopez, as does he. He poses tough questions, and shares wisdom, all while looking to the horizon, ‘the sill of the sky, separating what the eye could see from what the mind might imagine.’” —Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review)
“Lopez is a natural philosopher in an almost literal sense, sharing his observations on the natural world and how different cultures have made sense of it, and one another. His ruminations take us around the globe and across the sweep of time, [with] meditations on travel, humankind’s impact on the environment, and the painful effects of colonialization on indigenous populations. A recurrent theme is the role of elders in a culture—as nonlinear thinkers who draw on their cultural past to see new ways of solving problems based on empathic listening and letting go of assumptions… This first-person account is ideal for anyone who likes nature writing that also manages to bring philosophy, anthropology sociology, and history to bear with a personal guide.” —Library Journal (starred review)
“A winning memoir . . . Lopez has made a long career of visiting remote venues such as Antarctica, Greenland, and the lesser known of the Galapagos Islands. From these travels he has extracted truths about the world . . . The author's chapter on talismans—objects taken from his travels, such as ‘a fist-size piece of raven-black dolerite’—is among the best things he has written. But there are plentiful gems throughout the looping narrative, its episodes constructed from adventures over eight decades. . . . Exemplary writing about the world and a welcome gift to readers.” —Kirkus Reviews (starred review)