An experienced nature writer whose recent The Sierra gained wide critical acclaim now turns his attention to the history of the vast deserts which make up most of southeastern California and spread over into Nevada and Arizona. First he reveals an interesting phenomenon---people are so anxious to live in the desert they are willing to pay outrageously high prices for land without water, without roads, and plentifully inhabited by rattle snakes. From there he retraces the history of these desert lands, telling of the explorers, miners, gunfighters, boom towners, bandits and Indian tribes, which have made such colorful history on the barren sands in the past 200 years. The recounting of Anza's trip through the desert in 1775 is in itself a remarkable vignette of history, as are later tales of mine strikes, land reclamation, floods and droughts, and the picturesque people who came to the country to live. How western movie makers, then subdividers, then finally rocket plane test pilots came to the desert brings the story right up to date. A very stimulating book, bursting with facts and written in brisk and compelling style.