Ellen Wohl, an expert in geology and geography, has written a book that stimulates speculation about the nature of landscape. As such, it has great universal appeal. Transient Landscapes: Insights on a Changing Planet is composed primarily of short—and very personal—essays about an array of places in at a particular point in time. I must add, that such a book needs many more illustrations to make her arguments stronger. Given the nature of publishing in these times, however, maybe such a suggestion is impossible to achieve.

There are three groupings of essays in the book: spaces of geological transience, seasonal transience, and landscapes strongly influenced by human activity. In the first section, Wohl explores “landscapes on the edge,” where...

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