Islands Apart: A Year on the Edge of Civilization (Paperback)

A Year on the Edge of Civilization

By Ken McAlpine

Trumpeter, 9781590305300, 256pp.

Publication Date: July 14, 2009



Author Ken McAlpine stands in his front yard one night in Ventura, California, trying to see the stars. His view is diminished by light pollution, making it hard to see much of anything in the sky. Our fast-paced, technologically advanced society, he concludes, is not conducive to stargazing or soul-searching. Taking a page from Thoreau's Walden, he decides to get away from the clamor of everyday life, journeying alone through California's Channel Islands National Park. There, he imagines, he might be able to "breathe slowly and think clearly, to examine how we live and what we live for."
In between his week-long solo trips through these pristine islands, McAlpine reaches out to try to better understand his fellow man: he eats lunch with the homeless in Beverly Hills, sits in the desert with a 98-year-old Benedictine monk, and befriends a sidewalk celebrity impersonator in Hollywood. What he discovers about himself and the world we live in will inspire anyone who wishes they had the time to slow down and notice the wonders of nature and humanity.

About the Author

Ken McAlpine is an award-winning travel writer whose work has appeared in Sports Illustrated, Outside, Reader's Digest, and the Los Angeles Times. He is the author of Off-Season: Discovering America on Winter's Shore. He lives with his family in Ventura, California.

Praise For Islands Apart: A Year on the Edge of Civilization

“McAlpine celebrates and struggles with the gifts of silence and solitude.  The results are careful, poetic, and often funny observations.”—Virtuoso Life