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Next to rain forests, deserts are the most biologically diverse ecosystems on Earth. In fact, a desert is never a single ecosystem but a concentration of dozens, ranging from arid flatlands to high mesas to canyons, and oases. Filled with unexpected life and unforgiving conditions, the desert evokes a vivid and passionate response from those who experience it and has inspired powerful literature. The writings in this collection celebrate this complex environment in all its wondrous guises. Among them, 19th-century explorer Sven Hedin staggers through a deadly sandstorm in the Taklamatan desert, whose name means "You enter and do not return." Ann Zwinger contemplates golden asters and rabbitbush in a lonely Utah canyon. Ariel Dorfman encounters time and memory in El Norte Grande. This fascinating anthology is the first in a series from Greystone Books celebrating a single natural or geographic phenomenon through the eyes of major world writers past and present.
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About the Author
Wayne Grady is one of North America's foremost popular science writers and the winner of three Science in Society awards from the Canadian Science Writers Association. His previously published nonfiction books recounted such diverse adventures as hunting dinosaurs in the Gobi Desert, investigating global warming at the North Pole, and discovering the wild in an urban metropolis. In 2004 he collaborated with acclaimed geneticist and environmentalist David Suzuki on Tree: A Life Story, a bestseller in Canada now in its third printing. Most recently, he published The Great Lakes (2007), an authoritative, accessible look at an ecosystem in eternal flux. In addition to his award-winning work in science and nature fields, he has received the Governor General's Award for English Translation, several National Magazine Awards, and the Brascan Award for Food Writing. He is married to the writer Merilyn Simonds and lives near Kingston, Ontario.