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Salvation Canyon: A True Story of Desert Survival in Joshua Tree

Salvation Canyon: A True Story of Desert Survival in Joshua Tree

$ 16.95

By Ed Rosenthal

June 2020. Paperback.

$16.95 | 9781733957977 (pb)
$14.99 | 9781733957960 (ebook)

A Los Angeles poet's hiking vacation turns deadly in soaring Mojave heat; his true survival story leaves you with chills.

Ed Rosenthal, "the poet-broker", advocates for historic properties in downtown Los Angeles and negotiates to save them. In 2010, after closing his biggest deal, he skips town to Joshua Tree National Park, only to find himself inexplicably lost. Over six grueling days without water, food, or hope, snippets of his life and his hard-knock youth in Queens play over the inspiring yet deadly landscape in soaring 120-degree heat. The God of Random Chance has, despite his best efforts his whole life, finally caught up to him. He describes his ordeal and its setting in intimate, vivid detail: surreal visions mix with wayfinding and intuitive wisdom in a poet’s-eye view of the life-lessons and magic that the desert can hold. 

Rosenthal's shocking ordeal was covered on The Outdoor Channel, the Discovery Channel with Bear Grylls, local broadcast, and NPR.


The writing is marvelous, the language wholly appropriate, with snatches of humor defying the reality. Salvation Canyon is a wondrous cautionary tale, enjoyable because of what can only be termed ‘a happy ending.’
– Jane Menaster, Manhattan Book Review

Ed Rosenthal’s gripping Salvation Canyon is about a desert hike gone wrong and a transformative, face-to-face confrontation with death…. The narrative is poignant as it reveals the clash between Rosenthal’s longing to merge with the beauty he saw around him, including the daytime landscape brushed with glowing color and clear night skies awash with stars, with nature’s indifference to his plight. With death near, Rosenthal wrote loving notes to his wife and daughter. Lonely, he allowed a lowly fly to befriend him. He prayed. A light rain fell. And, on the seventh day, he heard a helicopter and rejoiced. Intimate and moving, Ed Rosenthal’s memoir shows how the desert that almost took his life also laid claim to his heart.
– Kristine Morris, Foreword Reviews

Ed Rosenthal maps out the dangerous journeys of the heart and the imagination in that hallucinatory place between mind and body, between nature and man, between his past and future.
– Elena Karina Byrne, poet and Poetry Director, LA Times Festival of Books

What Ed did next was inspired and most probably saved his life....He began to write....
– Bear Grylls, "Escape From Hell"


Ed Rosenthal has saved many Art Deco-era structures and businesses in Downtown Los Angeles, including The Eastern Columbia Building and Clifton's Cafeteria. His socially-oriented poetry has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, the LA Times, and Urban Land, the national magazine of the Urban Land Institute. He is known for performing poetry at community development agencies, Los Angeles City Council investitures, and gatherings of real estate developers. His environmental poetry is found on Sierra Club sites, and in California poetry journals. As a survivor of a desert ordeal, Rosenthal has been featured in "Fight to Survive" on The Outdoor Channel, Bear Grylls' "Escape From Hell" series on The Discovery Channel, the Jewish Journal of Greater Los Angeles, several presentations on The Weather Channel, LA Magazine, and "The Story" on National Public Radio. He lives in Culver City with his wife, Nicole.