William Atkins revives the great British tradition of travel writing by recording his journeys to the earth’s most desolate, inspiring places: deserts.
One third of the globe’s land surface is desert, and much of it parched, treacherous, and inhospitable. The hostile climate, lunar topography, and sheer existential blankness of these zones have confounded explorers over the centuries. For indigenous and nomadic people, conversely, these hostile and forbidding places are home, and the vistas that fill Western travellers with dread bring more comfort than fear.
In ‘The Immeasurable World’, over the course of eight journeys to deserts iconic and obscure, Atkins enters a landscape that he discovers is as much internal as physical. From the monasteries of Egypt – where he enters into the extreme privations of the Desert Father – to America’s Black Rock Desert, and via Oman, Australia, and Central Asia, he investigates the fascinating life, history, and iconography of these untamed places. The result is a book destined to take its place alongside the most memorable works of travel literature.