Always the Mountains

Title Details

Pages: 272

Trim size: 6.000in x 9.000in



Pub Date: 04/01/2007

ISBN: 9-780-8203-2953-6

List Price: $26.95

Always the Mountains

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  • Description
  • Reviews

David Rothenberg is one of our most eloquent observers of the interplay between nature, culture, and technology. These nineteen pieces exemplify what has been called Rothenberg's "amiable" mix of interests, styles, and approaches.

In settings that range from wildest Norway to his own front porch in upstate New York, Rothenberg discusses the Hudson River School of painters, the hazy provenance of Chief Seattle's famous speech, ecoterrorism, suburbia, the World Wide Web, and much more. He asks if we can save a place less obtrusively than by turning it into a park. He muses on the plight of a pacifist beset by a swarm of mosquitoes. He ascends Mt. Ventoux with Petrarch and Mt. Katahdin with Thoreau.

In Always the Mountains, Rothenberg dares us to "enjoy the fundamental uncertainty that grounds human existence," to wean ourselves from the habit of simple answers and embrace the world's vastness.

Rothenberg's mountain excursions are absolutely the best since Thoreau's Katahdin and Muir's The Mountains of California. His prose is effortless, yet anchored in granitic truth. Truly an inspiring alternative to the 'peak bagging,' heroic mountain climber tales that dominate the market. Every climber should read this book.

—Max Oelschlaeger, author of The Idea of Wilderness

Whatever David Rothenberg touches becomes a surprise exploration, an unexpected point of engagement where he invites us to a deeper way of thinking about our place on the planet. He is a musician, a philosopher, a writer, and above all, an alchemist.

—Terry Tempest Williams

Years ago, I decided that I would never get to the center of things unless I went to the edge. David Rothenberg has changed my mind. He takes us on a leap off the edge and convinces me that this act is our only hope of finally getting some solid ground underneath our souls.

—Charles Bowden, author of Blues for Cannibals

If you love to ponder our subtly nuanced relationships with all that surrounds us, this book is for you.

—David Keller, Catalyst

Rothenberg is concerned with what it means to be human, both in and out of nature; what it means to remove ourselves from nature, yet strive to preserve it. . . . Rothenberg's writing is by turns challenging, poetic, insightful.

—Todd Paul, Chronogram

Reading Always the Mountains is like hiking a trail with both friend and mentor, with every step a new discovery and subsequent, exciting conversation.


Stirring . . . Rothenberg explores our evolving attitudes-in literature, in philosophy—toward the lofty peaks that surround and inspire us.

—Jim Motavalli, E Magazine

Engaging and profound, Always the Mountains marries information and imagination.

—Satish Kumar, editor of Resurgence

About the Author/Editor

DAVID ROTHENBERG is a philosopher, musician, and author of Why Birds Sing, also published in Italy, Spain, Taiwan, China, Korea, and Germany. In 2006 it was turned into a feature-length TV documentary by the BBC. Rothenberg has also written Blue Cliff Record, Hand’s End, Always the Mountains, Thousand Mile Song, Survival of the Beautiful, and Bug Music. His writings have appeared in at least eleven languages. As a musician Rothenberg has performed and recorded with Suzanne Vega, Scanner, Marilyn Crispell, Peter Gabriel, Ray Phiri, Pauline Oliveros, and the Karnataka College of Percussion. He has recorded on the ECM, Terra Nova, and EarthEar labels, and has been profiled on Radiolab and in the New Yorker. Rothenberg is professor of philosophy and music at the New Jersey Institute of Technology.