In this epic travelogue, nature writer Barry Lopez's slow but steady observations of a magnificent but damaged planet mirror the slow but steady exploitation of its resources and the extent of human suffering such a feat requires. Horizon is a book with no central horizon, and for that we should be grateful. You could ask for no better travel guide as long as you are open to the possibilities of tangential paths and his 'capacity for wonder' ... Lopez is a thoughtful and careful curator, sweeping the planet to understand not only its topography but also the cultural geography of humans and the relationship between the two.
Of course, deftly sketched landscapes are one of [Lopez's] chief delights — and Horizon, suspended halfway between travelogue and memoir, offers plenty of them ... [The book] makes for dreamlike reading, and these are clearly locations and memories meant to be savored. With his signature style, [Lopez] filters the landscapes through cultural contexts, political history, and sharp physical observation. And he asks questions — explicitly, but also implicitly ... Occasionally, it's difficult going — not just because of the import of these questions, but because Lopez doesn't shy away from himself in his telling, the sort of flawed humanity that makes one think about one's own filters for geographies of all kinds ... But Lopez is a welcoming host as he brings you across the world. He's especially at home in the cold, and the chapters in the Arctic and Antarctica are full of passages that, in their painstaking physicality, lead inevitably to deeper psychological places ... Horizon is a biography and a portrait of some of the world's most delicate places, but at heart it's a contemplation of Lopez's belief that the only way forward is compassionately, and together.
Horizon is beautiful and brutal, uplifting and bleak, a story of the universal human condition set in some of the most distinctive places on earth ... Strangely, though, these relentless reminders of egregious acts don’t diminish the appeal of seeing the world through Lopez’s eyes. His reverence for exploring every corner of the world, even the sites of its most shameful histories, is infectious.