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Ed Rosenthal’s gripping Salvation Canyon is about a desert hike gone wrong and a transformative, face-to-face confrontation with death…. The narrative is poignant as it reveals the clash between Rosenthal’s longing to merge with the beauty he saw around him, including the daytime landscape brushed with glowing color and clear night skies awash with stars, with nature’s indifference to his plight. With death near, Rosenthal wrote loving notes to his wife and daughter. Lonely, he allowed a lowly fly to befriend him. He prayed. A light rain fell. And, on the seventh day, he heard a helicopter and rejoiced. Intimate and moving, Ed Rosenthal’s memoir shows how the desert that almost took his life also laid claim to his heart.
~ Kristine Morris, Foreword Reviews
Rosenthal, who is Jewish but not particularly devout, prayed…. He prayed for rain, and 10 seconds later it rained. He lay down in amazement and the drops wet his parched tongue.
~ LA Times
What he did next was inspired and most probably saved his life…. He began to write….
~ Bear Grylls, Escape From Hell
“The Desert Hat” delves deeply into the wildest unpredictable heart of the Mojave … a storied landscape that Rosenthal renders as both recognizable to the reader and also deeply specific to his solitary and unanticipated experience, and creates an empathetic and spiritually-affirming desert landscape that resonates within all of our desert hearts.
~ Professor Ruth Nolan, College of the Desert and former BLM firefighter
Like poet James Wright, Rosenthal ”goes/ Back to the broken ground” of the self and finds a stranger there trapped in the cosmology of an endless, unpitying desert. As the stark “sun burns holes/ into the sky” the psyche’s true-north compass finds salvation’s shade. Rosenthal climbed out of “the busted monster’s mouth” with a beautiful, moving book.
~ Elena Karina Byrne, poet and poetry director of the LA Times Festival of Books