A WALK ALONG LAND'S END by John McKinney

A WALK ALONG LAND'S END

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KIRKUS REVIEW

 An environmentally minded trailblazer hikes the entire California coastline, tossing out barbs against corporations, developers, and government agencies as frequently as he pushes aside recalcitrant manzanita bush and dodges poison oak. The writer, the executive director of the California Coastal Trails Foundation, chronicles his 1,700-mile meander along the beaches and through coastal mountain ranges, alternately bushwhacking through scrubland, trespassing on the seaside lawns of condominium owners, and protesting against the unceasing residential and industrial encroachment that blocks his northerly progress. Beginning at the Mexican border, where he encounters a family of illegal aliens, McKinney hikes about 15 miles daily, discoursing on native Californian shrubbery, offshore oil-well leaks, and the adventures of earlier Californian notables, such as 19th-century sailor/writer Richard Henry Dana, and later, less salubrious figures, such as Ronald Reagan. This is not quite a guidebook for prospective hikers; McKinney is often stopped and upbraided for being where he shouldn't; he flees across miles of ``off-limits'' military bases; he crashes the yearly ``Rancheros'' party, a gathering of Fortune 500 types who own vast tracts of rangeland. One chapter is devoted to his recollections of the disastrous 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill; elsewhere, McKinney recounts his protests outside the gate of the Diablo Nuclear Power Plant in 1981. The more northerly portion of McKinney's hike is apt to appeal to the reader searching for some calming nature writing, but the purpose of this book is not to entertain but to admonish the reader about the necessity of ``a new visualization'' in our society's approach to the land, and especially the coastline. At points a bit redundant and overly ironic, but generally informative and immediate in its impact.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1995
ISBN: 0-06-258530-4
Page count: 256pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15th, 1995




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