Free “Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place” by Terry Tempest Williams Book Report Sample

Book Report

This is a book report of the book “Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place” by Terry Tempest Williams which was published by Vintage in 1992. The report will mainly elaborate on the details and facts which the author wrote in the book and how those details are understood by the reader and their effect to the readers as well.

William story is based on her life experience on what he went through since her mother was diagnosed with ovarian cancer until she died. The Author revolves around the a family set up which most of its women have died because of cancer, love which she had for her mother and other members of the family and the desert which was where they were living (McEvoy, 2005). She has a great sense of nature and how death and life is inevitable and how one would be able to handle grieve as she did after she her mother died and the birds which she liked died as well after the salty lake rose to their inhabitants. 

The author emphasizes on important of preservations of the environment and spiritual faith as elements in life which would make someone appreciate importance of life. The effect of negligence by United States government which tested thousands of nuclear devices at Utah between 1940’s to 1960’s has negative effects on the inhabitants of the region. The residue of nuclear devices in the region makes the environment to be hazardous to people who were living there at the time the author wrote the book. The emissions caused cancers to people and increased rate of deaths in the society.  It’s due to such instances which made the author be aggrieved of losing her mother due to cancer. 

The author was moved by how cancer has made him to belong to a clan of one breasted women because one of their breast had been removed because they are cancerous.  She had grieved the death of seven members of her family, the grand mother, mother and six of her unties (Williams, 281). This is a clear indicator on how destructive the effects of nuclear materials used by the government were on the livelihood of people. The rising of the Great Salt Lake geology was described by the author and how it raised and spilled over to areas which were habited by birds which eventually died (Anderson, 1993).

However, the effects of her overcoming grieve provide a good example to the reader on how they would be able to overcome grieve. The author has emphasized on ho grieve is part of experience in life with which every person is supposed to be acquainted with because death of a loved one is inevitable. She also made it clear that faith plays a major role in acceptance of grieve and how one would be able to deal with it. The honesty of the author on what she had gone through when her mother was sick and eventually she died shows her character on how one would be able to deal with grieve and loss which is inevitable.

The author theme in the story is indirectly linked on the activities which man does to the environment. It is because of the insensitivity of United States government in experimenting nuclear devices in the deserts without neutralizing its effects has on the habitants who inhibited those areas. Therefore, she is indirectly urging the readers to be responsible of the environment so that they would be able to preserve nature which will in turn support life. If the environment was taken good care William would have not lost most of the family members due to cancer and neither the birds would not have died.

Works Cited

  1. Anderson, Lisa. Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place. 1993. <> May 12, 2010
  2. McEvoy, Steven. Refuge An Unnatural History by: Terry Tempest Williams. November 19, 2005 <> May 12 2010
  3. Williams, Terry. Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place. Lincolnshire, Vintage. 1992. Print
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