Praise for River of Shadows
"Never less than deeply intelligent, and often very close to inspired. It belongs to that wondrous class of books–like William Gass's On Being Blue
and Anne Carson's Eros the Bittersweet
–in which an extraordinary mind seizes hold of an unexpected topic and renders it with such confidence, subtlety and grace that one finds it hard to remember what things looked like before the book appeared in the world."
–The New York Times Book Review
"Rich and rewarding . . . [Solnit] has rescued a strange, inexplicable fellow from mere histories of photography . . . a book of enormous intelligence and fascination."
–The New Republic
"Solnit has the wide-foraging mind of a great essayist and the West-besotted soul of the recording secretary for your local historical society . . . she's who Susan Sontag might have become if Sontag had never forsaken California for Manhattan . . . Solnit's prose combines in individual paragraphs the imagery of a poet, the ideas of the theoretician, the rhythm of a thoroughbred and the force of a Southern Pacific locomotive . . . [River of Shadows
] is a book whose cantering intelligence keeps it, from first to last, airborne."
–San Francisco Chronicle
"A perfect example of a subject waiting–in this case for almost a century and a half–for the appropriate writer to come along to unlock its concealed meaning and unexpected relevance . . . This portrait of a man, a place, a time, a technology, an art and various other matters that elude encapsulation shines on nearly every page with rigor and gusto and is consistently a delight to read." –The Los Angeles Times
"Extraordinary . . . it is hard to do justice to Solnit's far-reaching perspective . . . Her prose, terse and poetic, makes the book a pleasurably dizzying page-turner."
"Solnit is a cultural historian in the desert-mystic mode, trailing ideas like swarms of butterflies."