Southwest Book Award, BRLA
Notable Book, Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award
Amazon Book Review Best Nonfiction of 2018
2018 Publisher's Weekly Best Books of the Year, Nonfiction
2018 Southwest Books of the Year
Outside Magazine Pick for Best Adventure Books of the Season
NPR Summer Reading List Pick
From one of the last fire lookouts in America comes this sequel to the award-winning Fire Season—a story of calamity and resilience in the world’s first Wilderness.
A dozen years into his dream job keeping watch over the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico, Philip Connors bore witness to the wildfire he had always feared: a conflagration that forced him off his mountain by helicopter, and changed forever the forest and watershed he loved. It was merely one of many transformations that arrived in quick succession, not just fire and flood but illness, divorce, the death of a fellow lookout in a freak accident, and a tragic plane crash that rocked the community he called home.
At its core an elegy for a friend he cherished like a brother, A Song for the River opens into celebration of a landscape redolent with meaning—and the river that runs through it. Connors channels the voices of the voiceless in a praise song of great urgency, and makes a plea to save a vital piece of our natural and cultural heritage: the wild Gila River, whose waters are threatened by a potential dam.
Brimming with vivid characters and beautiful evocations of the landscape, A Song for the River carries the story of the Gila Wilderness forward to the present precarious moment, and manages to find green shoots everywhere sprouting from the ash. Its argument on behalf of things wild and free could not be more timely, and its goal is nothing less than permanent protection for that rarest of things in the American West, a free-flowing river—the sinuous and gorgeous Gila.
It must not perish.