On Hell’s Bottom Ranch, a section of land below the Front Range, there are women like Renny, who prefer a “little Hell swirled with their Heaven,” and men like Ben, her husband, who’s “gotten used to smoothing over Renny’s excesses.” This work of fiction enters the lives of this extended ranching family, giving flesh and blood to the mythical West.
Deciding that her life was insufficiently grounded in real-world experience, the author, a Quaker reared as a Catholic, embarked on a year of tending sheep. In this often hilarious book, she describes her time in the barn as well as an extended visit to a Buddhist monastery in France.
Arctic Refuge began as an idea in January 2001, when Alaska residents Hank Lentfer and Carolyn Servid responded to proposals to drill in ANWR by sending a call to writers across the country. Just seven weeks later, the book was presented to Congress. With contributions from President Jimmy Carter, Terry Tempest Williams, Bill McKibben, Wendell Berry, Scott Russell Sanders, wildlife biologists, members of the Gwich'in Nation—whose lives depend on the caribou—and many others, Arctic Refuge presents a range of perspectives on ANWR's place in our world and the issues surrounding our use of energy and public lands. Together, these essays serve as a testimony to wild places and offer a sustainable vision for our world. Over a decade later, Arctic Refuge remains relevant as not only a record of the movement that saved ANWR, but also as a record of writing that arises from political moments and makes a lasting difference.