Some of the Dead Are Still Breathing Summary and Reviews

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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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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Reader Reviews

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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.

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".

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.

Susan Tereza

Remarkable, beautiful, disturbing
Like the author, I am fascinated by the beings we share this planet with, and despairing at how we are destroying those beings and this planet. When reading the beautifully-written bits that resonate with me, I feel myself ringing like a swiftly-struck gong.

But he also writes about women/drugs/murder/destruction in ways I do not relate to, and those bits I find myself skipping over, or reading as quickly as possible just to be done with them.

Overall I find it a breathtaking, non-linear, not always enjoyable and yet truly remarkable read.

Julie

Gonzo Hemingway + Audubon: A portrayal of the deserts inside and outside
Bowden writes in a spare style, perhaps reflecting the time he spent as a newspaper reporter for the Tucson Citizen. In several pieces he skips place or personal names altogether--in a life as painful as the one he describes, with nary a dysfunction left out of his childhood and later life, this might be essential to survival. Abandonment, alcoholism, drug abuse, gun play, whoring...this isn't a book to recommend to just anyone.

Yet, it's not despairing--he cares greatly for the natural world around him, and his awe-filled observations of animal behavior and biology are fascinating. It's a little too much William S. Burroughs, and not enough Bruce Chatwin for my taste, but the writing is vivid and compelling.

Katherine

Looking for a New Type of Reading Experience?
You have to be ready for the non-linear structure of this book. I enjoyed some parts of this book very much and found myself reading them aloud to my family while other parts I just wanted to skip over. This book is like being inside the author's head and hearing his entire thought process - some fascinating, some weird, and some disturbing. If you're ready to try something different give this a try. Recommended for people who enjoy Haruki Murakami and Edward Abbey.

...6 more reader reviews

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More Information

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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