The Desert Coast, Edward Eyre’s Expedition 1840 – 41
The Adelaide Review, 1993
The author aims to “capture the drama of Eyre’s expedition”. He has succeeded brilliantly, by choosing excerpts from Eyre’s Journals and linking them with his own narrative text. What distinguishes The Desert Coast from most books on Australian explorers is its stunning colour photographs, superbly reproduced, of the country as it is today. Stokes’ evocative images will help make the country real for those who will never be able to experience its beauty and harshness for themselves.
The Bulletin, 1993
Edward Stokes’ photographs are brilliantly evocative. He has given the images a satisfying text, deftly assembled from his own comments and extracts from Eyre’s journal. Stokes gives a fine portrait of Eyre, disposing of historical revisionism which suggests that Eyre created a metaphor for himself as an explorer. Stokes’ excellent and enthralling book proves his point: that the revisionist view that “Eyre’s heroism was constructed not real” ignores the realities of the waterless tracts he encountered.
Australian Book Review, 1993
Eyre’s journals have no small claim on the Australian imagination, as reading them prompted Patrick White to write Voss. Edward Stokes has found an equally effective way to tempt the imagination to read between the lines of Eyre’s sparse prose. There are resonances between the journeys of Edward Eyre and Edward Stokes. The author has done Eyre a genuine service. Stokes’ photographs create places to settle briefly, along the line of Eyre’s forced march.
The Advertiser, 1993
What set Eyre apart from many other Australian explorers was his respect for, and empathy with, the Aborigines he encountered. Excerpts from Eyre’s own account are effectively combined with linking narrative text and stunning landscape photographs.
Sun Herald, 1993
Edward Eyre was a singular man. Edward Stokes has illustrated his narrative of Eyre’s epic journey with luminous photographs of both the desert and the coast. The Desert Coast is a fascinating account of a remarkable man and explorer. This book is a worthy tribute.