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  • Published: 15 July 2012
  • ISBN: 9780307591777
  • Imprint: Broadway
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • RRP: $34.99

Finding Everett Ruess



The Life and Unsolved Disappearance of a Legendary Wilderness Explorer

Finding Everett Ruessby David Roberts, with a foreword by Jon Krakauer,is the definitive biography of the artist, writer, and eloquent celebrator of the wilderness whose bold solo explorations of the American West and mysterious disappearance in the Utah desert at age 20 have earned him a large and devoted cult following. More than 75 years after his vanishing, Ruess stirs the kinds of passion and speculation accorded such legendary doomed American adventurers asInto the Wild’sChris McCandless and Amelia Earhart.

“I have not tired of the wilderness; rather I enjoy its beauty and the vagrant life I lead, more keenly all the time. I prefer the saddle to the street car and the star sprinkled sky to a roof, the obscure and difficult trail, leading into the unknown, to any paved highway, and the deep peace of the wild to the discontent bred by cities.” So Everett Ruess wrote in his last letter to his brother. And earlier, in a valedictory poem,”Say that I starved; that I was lost and weary; That I was burned and blinded by the desert sun; Footsore, thirsty, sick with strange diseases; Lonely and wet and cold . . . but that I kept my dream!" Wandering alone with burros and pack horses through California and the Southwest for five years in the early 1930s, on voyages lasting as long as ten months, Ruess also became friends with photographers Edward Weston and Dorothea Lange, swapped prints with Ansel Adams, took part in a Hopi ceremony, learned to speak Navajo, and was among the first "outsiders" to venture deeply into what was then (and to some extent still is) largely a little-known wilderness.

When he vanished without a trace in November 1934, Ruess left behind thousands of pages of journals, letters, and poems, as well as more than a hundred watercolor paintings and blockprint engravings. A Ruess mystique, initiated by his parents but soon enlarged by readers and critics who, struck by his remarkable connection to the wild, likened him to a fledgling John Muir. Today, the Ruess cult has more adherents—and more passionate ones—than at any time in the seven-plus decades since his disappearance. By now, Everett Ruess is hailed as a paragon of solo exploration, while the mystery of his death remains one of the greatest riddles in the annals of American adventure. David Roberts began probing the life and death of Everett Ruess forNational Geographic Adventuremagazine in 1998. Finding Everett Ruessis the result of his personal journeys into the remote areas explored by Ruess, his interviews with oldtimers who encountered the young vagabond and with Ruess’s closest living relatives, and his deep immersion in Ruess’s writings and artwork. It is an epic narrative of a driven and acutely perceptive young adventurer’s expeditions into the wildernesses of landscape and self-discovery, as well as an absorbing investigation of the continuing mystery of his disappearance.

In this definitive account of Ruess's extraordinary life and the enigma of his vanishing, David Roberts eloquently captures Ruess's tragic genius and ongoing fascination.

  • Published: 15 July 2012
  • ISBN: 9780307591777
  • Imprint: Broadway
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • RRP: $34.99

About the author

David Roberts

Nick Ronald and David Roberts are now firmly established names in the decorating world. They opened their first Grand Illusions shop in St Margaret's, Twickenham, in 1987. An inspirational home furnishings and accessories store, Grand Illusions brings innovative home ideas to an appreciative audience. As well as the shops in St Margarets, there are now two sister shops in Richmond and Bath plus two thriving mail-order catalogues, Maison and Maison Bis. Nick and David also run highly successful paint techniques courses and their ideas are featured regularly in magazines and on television, including BBC's Home Front. Their first book, Grand Illusions, was published in 1996 with Grand Illusions New Decorating following in 1998. Nick and David have recently moved to the country where they are renovating an eighteenth-century house.

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