The Last Cheater's Waltz by Ellen Meloy
Beauty and Violence in the Desert Southwest

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From the recipient of the 1997 Whiting Award.

Feeling disconnected from the wildly beautiful desert that she has known intimately for twenty years, award-winning writer Ellen Meloy embarks on a search for home that is historical, scientific, and spiritual. Her "Map of the Known Universe," devised to guide her quest, reveals extraordinary details of a physical link between the atomic age and her home on Utah's San Juan River. The Map grows to include Los Alamos, the Trinity A-test site, White Sands Missile Range, and primary sources of uranium.

Meloy casts her naturalist's eye on the Southwest's "geography of consequence," where she finds unusual local bestiaries, the bodies of long-buried neighbors, an underground bubble of nuclear physics in a national forest, and the rich textures of nature on her own eight acres of land. The story is multilayered and far-reaching, yet always infused with Meloy's prodigious research, finely tuned prose, and wry humor.

About Ellen Meloy

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Ellen Meloy is the recipient of a 1997 Whiting Award and, previously, a Spur Award from the Western Writers of America for her book, Raven's Exile (Owl Books, 0-8050-3807-8). Meloy lives in southeastern Utah.
Published February 28, 1999 by Unknown. 225 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Travel, Science & Math, History. Non-fiction

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collectively, the author calls these places “the terrain of strategic death.” Her travels ultimately guide her to the birthplace of the nuclear age: Los Alamos, N.M., where Meloy gives us a tour of the famed laboratory where the A-bomb was invented—but also of the surrounding countryside, where d...

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