Adios to the Brushlands
6 x 9, 144 pp.
Pub Date: 06/24/2016
Wardlaw Books
Price:        $15.95


Published by Texas A&M University Press

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2000 Carroll Abbott Memorial Award, presented by the Native Plant Society of Texas 2000 Heritage Award, presented by the Webb County Historical Foundation

Adios to the Brushlands

Arturo Longoria

In a little-known area of South Texas, extending across the Rio Grande into Mexico, a mysterious, lush land once harbored mighty trees, bushes, and grasses--brushland home to a plethora of wildlife. In Adios to the Brushlands native son Arturo Longoria remembers this chapparal land of his childhood: hot summer days and frigid winter mornings walking with his grandfather or his best friend through the dense underbrush, watching birds, studying reptiles, identifying plants. Boyhood hunting and varmint calling, encounters with rattlesnakes and fierce pamorana ants, hours spent with his grandfather, Papagrande, and cousins bring to life another time and place. A trained biologist and one-time investigative reporter, Longoria brings his skills of observation and expression to sing the song of this vanishing habitat that once covered nearly four million acres of the Rio Grande Valley. In moving but understated prose he captures the wonder of the brushland and symbolically and emotionally links its loss, through rootplows and bulldozers, to the death of his grandfather, who had introduced him to that world. He reports as well the public policies and private actions that have reduced the brushland to less than five percent of its former extent. He chronicles the efforts to publicize the brushland’s destruction and to save the remaining richness for future generations. At once a celebration of a region’s nature and a call to preserve the little bit of it still left today, this book is to the South Texas Brushlands what Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring was to the nation’s wetlands or John Graves’s Goodbye to a River was to the Brazos River. Rife with the natural history of an endangered ecology and capturing as well the binational culture of the region, Adios to the Brushlands draws readers into a land as raw, beautiful, and complex as life itself. A unique descriptive documentary of a disappearing natural treasure, it is a slice of the new natural history that weds the details of the physical world with their significance to the human heart.

What Readers Are Saying:

“. . . an empassioned call to action, to awareness. . . . After reading Longoria, you’ll agree it’s worth fighting for.” --Valley Morning Star

“. . . Longoria is an environmental essayist in the vein of John Graves, and Adios is a serious book that is both personal and political. . . .” --The Austin Chronicle

“Arturo Longoria’s Adios to the Brushlands is a passionate and evocative tribute to the now almost entirely vanished brushlands of deep South Texas. . . . This book is a welcome and significant addition to the environmental literature of our region.” --Texas Books in Review

“ . . . the remaining natural habitat is some of the most diverse in the world, and Longoria, as a passionate native son, express the beauty, meaning, and importance of those places. Longoria sings the joys and lamentations of his place just as John Graves and Annie Dillard did for theirs.” --Western Historical Quarterly

“Adios to the Brushland is an unforgettable story in which author Arturo Longoria describes the natural character of his lower Rio Grande Valley homeland . . . Like the land it springs from, his story is many-layered. . . . Longoria writes in an engaging, journalistic style that is easy to read. . . . He is a remarkably honest writer who reveals both the heart and harm of his youthful attitudes . . . Adios to the Brushland is a ‘must read,’ not only for native plant and wildlife enthusiasts but also for readers interested in the history, politics and culture of the South Texas border. Readers will find a lively, bi-lingual flavor in the text . . . Beyond its regional intrigue the book has a broader relevance, for Longoria writes with a depth that gives readers an understanding of their relationship to the whole of nature and with a passion that will inspire them to preserve it.” --Native Plant Society of Texas

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