Ed Rosenthal was Jewish kid from the mean streets of Rockaway, Queens who became a real estate broker in Downtown Los Angeles. His passion is poetry, writing about the historic buildings he sells and advocates to preserve. He hates slumlords, is fed up with his buyers, but finally closes The Big Deal and saves a century’s-old icon: Clifton’s Cafeteria. It is fall of 2010 and he’s ready to not to talk to anyone for a week. After the ribbon cutting he skips town and makes his way toward the Mojave and his favorite hiking trip in Joshua Tree National Park. But his vacation soon turns into a nightmare. Over six grueling days without water, food, or hope, he discovers a well of perseverance in the snippets of his life that play over the deadly but inspiring landscape. The God of Random Chance has, despite his best efforts his whole life, finally caught up to him. He describes his ordeal and its setting in intimate, vivid detail: surreal visions mix with wayfinding and intuitive wisdom in a poet’s-eye view of the life-lessons and magic that the desert can hold.
Rosenthal’s shocking ordeal was covered on The Outdoor Channel, local broadcast, The Weather Channel, in Los Angeles Magazine, and interviewed by Dick Gordon for “The Story” on National Public Radio. In 2014 he was the subject of an episode of “Fight to Survive” with Bear Grylls on The Outdoor Channel.