In Hold the Enlightenment, America’s favorite and funniest adventure writer returns with his most entertaining collection of essays yet, as he travels the globe and faces down challenges that are animal, topographical—and human.
Hold the Enlightenment takes Tim Cahill to sites as far-flung as Saharan salt mines, the Congolese jungle, and Hanford, Washington, home of the largest toxic-waste dump in the Western hemisphere. With his trademark wit and insight, Cahill describes stalking the legendary Caspian tiger in the mountains bordering Iraq, slogging through a pitch-black Australian eucalyptus forest to find the nocturnal platypus, diving with great white sharks in South Africa, staving off enlightenment at a yoga retreat in Jamaica, and much, much more. In these essays, vivid and masterly storytelling combine with outrageously sly humor and jolts of real emotion to show one of the most popular journalists of our time at the absolute peak of his game.
Organized in the "chaotic logic of a pinball in urgent play," this collection takes its reader from a yoga retreat in Jamaica to the mountains bordering Iraq as smoothly as it transitions between moments of sheer hilarity and utter poignancy. In essence, what Cahill (Pass the Butterworms) has done is display various snapshots of his own life and travels, allowing the reader to experience it as he does one episode at a time. In "The Terrible Land," Cahill travels to Hanford, Wash., on a stretch of the Columbia River that is pristine and, at the same time, the largest toxic waste dump in the Western Hemisphere. In "Evilfish," Cahill responds to an article in the New York Times in which the much-loved, friendly dolphin is revealed to be a joy-killer. With his trademark clarity and wit, Cahill manages to take the article's depiction of the animal with a permanent smile one step farther, citing studies of dolphin gang-rape and infanticide while poking fun at a society that views dolphins as Flipper. Cahill takes armchair travelers on a search for the elusive Caspian Tiger in the villages of southeastern Turkey and on a midnight trek through an Australian forest as a "Wiley Platypus Hunter." He recounts his first "Bug Scream," the reaction to a half-pound centipede dropping on his chest in the midst of the Congo Basin, and recalls the generosity of the people of his own small town in Montana. This is a collection with something for everyone; each story, in its own way, manages to raise the consciousness of the reader and reveals that the author, whether he wishes to admit it or not, is absolutely on the path to enlightenment.
Customer ReviewsSee All
A nice collection of "Philosophy by Cahill"
A good summer or vacation read.
I've been a fan of Cahill and his ability to see the humor in situations since the 90s when he wrote for Outside magazine.
Hold the Enlightenment, is a series of essays, some which I think appear in other places, with a little more depth and thought than Tim's usual writing.
Some of the essays are classic, excellent Cahill, some are just OK. The final essay, Trusty and Grace, brought small tears to my eyes.
This book is not a book of earth shattering import, just a great summer read.