Cheap Land Colorado: Off-Gridders at America’s Edge

Knopf. Nov. 2022. 304p. ISBN 9780525521488. $30. SOC SCI
In 2017, Pulitzer Prize finalist and National Book Critics Circle Award winner Conover (Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing) traveled to Colorado as a volunteer, helping to prevent people from living without housing, especially during the winter months. He ended up, however, buying five acres of cheap land and writing this book about the off-grid lifestyle along the San Luis Valley. This book chronicles his four-year study and firsthand experience with the challenges of living a life removed from society, which yielded surprising, and not-so-surprising, truths. He met some interesting folks, most of whom wish to live freely and independently, despite the hardships of living without basic necessities. The atmosphere can be intimidating, but there is also a sense of community within the cold and unforgiving landscape. For many, a lifestyle like this is the best chance they’ll ever have to own their own land and is a point of pride. It can be a rewarding life, but the author shows that it can be a hard and sometimes hazardous one as well.
VERDICT A raw, revealing, and effective look at life on the rural perimeters of society.
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