Bowden has written many books about the desert, from saguaro to drug smugglers. He helped convince the U.S. government to create the Sonoran Desert National Monument in southern Arizona. This book was written as an antibiotic to his experiences with that process: doing the right things with the wrong people to preserve a place the government would never understand. It’s brilliant work. His desert is a raw, sensual reality. He wants to “eat the dirt, lick the rock and leave the shade for the sun and feel the burning.” Michael Berman’s photos are acutely observed representations of heat and dryness. But it’s Bowden’s vivid prose that stings, asserting that we need these places to be animals and to fear and devour what we are.