Land of the Desert Sun
Texas' Big Bend Country
Photography
8.5 x 11, 152 pp.
51 b&w photos., 3 maps.
Pub Date: 12/01/1998
Louise Lindsey Merrick Natural Environment Series
  paper
Price:        $19.95

978-0-89096-835-2

Published by Texas A&M University Press

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Land of the Desert Sun

Texas' Big Bend Country

By D. Gentry Steele

The Big Bend region, outlined by the snakelike curve of the Rio Grande, is a land of deserts and mountains. The lowlands of the region, dominated by the desert sun, are the eastern margin of the Chihuahuan Desert, one of the most arid regions of the world. Rising above the desert floor are numerous mountain ranges, part of the Southern Sierras. These mountain islands of cooler and moister terrain above the sere desert give the Big Bend an incredible wealth of diverse biological communities. Together, the deserts and the mountains of the Big Bend are the largest and last wild area remaining in Texas. In Land of the Desert Sun, D. Gentry Steele explores this fascinating region with his camera, leading the reader to enjoy the Big Bend through the eyes of a naturalist and historian. Taken in black and white to emphasize light, shadow, and texture, Steele's photographs present the Big Bend in a way that appeals to the sense of awe at the grandeur of the region's geological scale and at the detail of life that hangs on determinedly in that harsh place. In addition to his fifty photographs, taken over a course of four years, Steele shares firsthand experiences and provides an brief natural and cultural history of the Chihuahuan Desert and the Big Bend National Park, placing the photographs in context. His descriptions provide an intellectual experience of the Big Bend country, as the photographs provide an emotional experience of the land. Big Bend enthusiasts and photography buffs alike will find that Steele's breath-taking portrait provides a richer understanding of this unique region.

D. Gentry Steele is a professor emeritus of anthropology at Texas A&M University. He is the co-author of The Anatomy and Biology of the Human Skeleton, also published by Texas A&M University Press.

What Readers Are Saying:

“. . . images that are deliberate and rich in textural detail. . . . Recommended for natural history, southwestern U.S., and photography collections.” --Library Journal

“ . . . he trains his large-format camera on the landscape with the eye of an artist as well as a scientist. . . . “ --Houston Chronicle

“...it is Steele’s plates that pull the reader in and make this book terrific reading.” --Judyth Rigler

“. . . Gentry has managed to capture the bare-bones essence of one of America’s most striking landscapes.” --Southern Living

“Steele’s descriptions of the history and ecology of Big Bend provide intellectual background, while his photographs resonate on an emotional level.” --Insite

“His descriptions provide an intellectual experience of the Big Bend Country, as the photographs provide an emotional experience of the land.” --The Lajitas Sun

“ . . . powerful scenes . . . It is a veritable cornucopia of grandeur—cave pictographs, old ranch houses, ghost towns, abandoned forts, hot springs and more. In his prose and photographs. Steel gives the reader an emotionally inspiring tour of a harsh, yet beautiful place.” --Spotlight

“ . . . The author . . . demonstrates his avocational skills as a naturalist in his very lucid description of the plant and animal life of the region . . . his descriptions in the text give completeness to the introduction to Big Bend Country. Steele’s text and photographs give the reader one of the best overviews of this area of Texas. . . . the overall design and presentation of the book make it a worthy addition to any bookshelf.” --Texas Books in Review

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