Some of the Dead Are Still Breathing: Book summary and reviews of Some of the Dead Are Still Breathing by Charles Bowden

Some of the Dead Are Still Breathing

Living in the Future

By Charles Bowden

Some of the Dead Are Still Breathing
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2009,
    256 pages.

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Book Summary

In Some of the Dead Are Still Breathing, the brilliant and iconoclastic Charles Bowden continues the quest he first set out on in Blood Orchid (1995) and Blues for Cannibals (2002)—to explore, as Jim Harrison says "our soul history, the germinal material, vast and brooding, that is always left out of more orthodox - all of them - books about America."

In more than a dozen groundbreaking books and many articles, Charles Bowden has blazed a trail of fire from the deserts of the Southwest to the centers of power where abstract ideas of human nature hold sway—and to the roiling places that give such ideas the lie.He has claimed as his turf "our soul history, the germinal material, vast and brooding, that is always left out of more orthodox (all of them) books about America" (Jim Harrison, on Blood Orchid).

In this seminal book, the third part in a trilogy which started with Blood Orchid (1995) and continued with Blues for Cannibals (2002), Bowden turns his fearless gaze toward the future—the future we can feel hurtling toward us, as fuel reserves dwindle, species die out, terrorism flourishes, the Earth warms, and our ability to be fully awake—alert and impassioned in our lives—wanes. Weaving together natural history, memoir, reportage, and sheer virtuosic writing, he takes us on a furious tour of our emerging reality, his observations from the borderlands—of nations, laws, species, and desire—all the more searing for his refusal to be our scourge.

Bowden has always had the gift of prophecy, but Some of the Dead Are Still Breathing is proof that the times have caught up with his vision, and need it now more than ever.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Affirms Bowden's place in the cranky Edward Abbey-Hunter S. Thompson school of Western individualists." - Kirkus Reviews.

"Bowden is a blood-and-guts journalist with a poet's sensibility, a noirish naturalist, a ferociously inquisitive witness to life's glory and horror torn between the desire to embrace the world and the need to hole up in a drapes-drawn motel room." - Booklist.

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Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Julie
Some of the Dead Are Still Breathing
I had not heard of this author before, and I usually don't read a lot of nonfiction, and I have to say this book probably will not encourage me to read more in the way of nonfiction. You could compare these "essays" to short stories, I guess, except they are really more rambling ruminations by the author. Kinda depressing and not my style.

Rated 4 of 5 of 5 by Mrs. John (Diane)
A Wonderful Unorthodox Story
Charles Bowden's writing takes the reader into uncharted territory on a psychogenic gurney ride. The reader/patient finds himself /herself continuously given varied life analysis. Is it life or is it to be death? I especially enjoyed "snaketime". Thinking that I have acquired a new way of thinking about the world because of it while gaining a fabulous new understanding of "the beasts" he so poetically describes.

Rated 3 of 5 of 5 by Jerry
Poetic, But....
Journalist Charles Bowden has written a book that is both lyrical and poetic. At the same time, the style of writing will not connect with a lot of people. The author is looking toward the future when plant life dies out, the earth warms, etc. Here is the rather pessimistic voice of an environmentalist. This is not a book I would normally read and for me it was a poor book. At the same time, others may be able to connect with the language and style better than I. That is why I give it a "3".

Rated 2 of 5 of 5 by Ann
Some of the Dead Are Still Breathing
While the author evoked some stunning images, the disconnectedness and lack of any cohesion prevented me from appreciating it. Rather than "streams of consciousness" I would describe most of the book as "streams of unconsciousness."

Personally, once I begin reading a book, I finish it, but this one was one of the most arduous.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Lori
Exceptional...pass it on
Bowdon's style is his strength, if you are ready for a ride through divergent landscapes in order to find continuity. The stark contrasts Bowdon draws may seem unsettling to some, yet they serve to illustrate the breadth of our existence and how difficult it is to understand it all. A really, really good book.

Rated 5 of 5 of 5 by Gary
some of the dead are still breathing
Charles Bowden is an artist. He creates music on the page through his words. There is truth in this book,and not everybody will like it,because truth is not always goodness and light. Sometimes it's as dark as a moonless night. I myself loved this book. It's hard to explain. So is the truth! As the author himself states, "I cannot seem to feel alive unless I am alert and I cannot feel alert unless I push past the point where I have control". Truth again! If you've been there you know what he means.

Read the book,then pass it on to a friend or a stranger! The author again, "We have to explain everything. We cannot simply be." Myself,I'm going to try and find a little "free time" a little "snaketime".

...6 more reader reviews

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Charles Bowden's journalism appears regularly in Harper's, GQ, and other national publications. He is the author of several previous books of nonfiction, including Down by the River.

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