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

Books on Tape. Nov. 2022. 10:09 hrs. ISBN 9780593627778. $85.50. SOC SCI
Pulitzer Prize finalist Conover (Newjack: Guarding Sing Sing) offers a look into what might be considered one of the last frontiers in the continental United States—Colorado’s San Luis Valley, home to a large off-the-grid community. For four years, Conover lived—on and off—with the residents and learned about the ethics, politics, and beliefs that guide their lives. Conover narrates his own work, which covers the history, often filled with false promises, of the valley as well as the struggles of modern residents, especially as they navigate the 2020 election, upheaval from racial unrest and the COVID pandemic, and long-term issues, such as generational poverty, little government assistance, and addiction. Conover’s writing offers an empathetic look at those who choose to live off-grid by choice, birth, or necessity. The listeners learn that while the land is rough, many people also find it to be a sort of oasis. In his narration, Conover’s affection for the land is evident, as is his respect for the residents.
VERDICT Readers who enjoyed Tara Westover’s Educated will be drawn to Conover’s book. An excellent addition to any nonfiction collection that provides a glimpse into a little-known community.
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