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Adirondack Explorer

June, 2017

Escape from Dannemora
Author: Michael Benson

Review by: Brian Mann

In the summer of 2015, while driving my beat-up Toyota truck through the back roads of northern Clinton and Franklin counties documenting the Great Dannemora Prison Break, I kept thinking that I had been swallowed whole by a tabloid news story, or maybe a trashy pulp novel, that refused to end. The setting was the rainy, gloomy Gothic woods of the northern Adirondack foothills. The characters all seemed to come straight from central casting. There were the two brutal killers, David Sweat and Richard Matt, who had pulled off an escape that instantly drew comparisons with the film The Shawshank Redemption, >>More

October, 2016

Heroes of the High Peaks
Author: Christine Bourjade

Review by: Philip Terrie

Book Review By PHILIP TERRIE From north to south, from east to west, the Adirondack Park is a spectacular place. We have vast expanses of intact forest, unpolluted lakes, and crystalline rivers with roiling whitewater. Everywhere you look, there’s something wonderful. But let’s face it: the High Peaks, especially that extraordinary environment on the alpine summits with its rare and delicate flora of the tundra, found nowhere else in New York, is the truly astonishing part of this splendid Park. Can anything really compare with the view from Haystack (or Dix or Gothics or Colden—fill in your personal favorite) on >>More

November, 2013

Adirondack Reflections & North Country Reflections
Author: Edited by Neal Burdick & Maurice Kenny

Review by: Kristina Ashby

Essays on how we live. People often visit the Adirondacks because of what it is not. It is not crowded. It is not loud. And it is not full of big-box chain stores. But people choose to make the Adirondacks their home because of what this place is. It is beautiful. It has a deeply connected community. One can find true wilderness if she so seeks. Like many others, I began as a visitor. I found myself returning again and again to visit family and friends. Eventually, at a crossroads in life, I came for what I believed would be >>More

July, 2013

Peak Experiences
Author: Carol Stone White

Review by: Tony Goodwin

Peak Experiences: Danger, Death, & Daring in the Mountains of the Northeast is a diverse collection of writings about difficult climbs, near catastrophes, and the occasional death in the mountains from the Catskills to Mount Katahdin. Edited by Carol Stone White (and including four of her own pieces), these are writings by the survivors. Some conclude with lessons learned by the writer, but the editor also periodically includes a “Cliff Note” to emphasize the lessons that readers should take away from an incident. As the author of the “Accident Report” column that appears periodically in Adirondac, I was particularly interested >>More

March, 2010

No Place I’d Rather Be: Wit and Wisdom from Adirondack Lean-to Journals
Author: Stuart F. Mesinger

Review by: Michael Virtanen

PROBABLY THE MOST interesting fact in No Place I’d Rather Be: Wit and Wisdom from Adirondack Lean-to Journals is buried in the back under Forest Preserve camping regulations. First among the state’s five rules for the backcountry log structures is this: “Must be shared by groups up to the capacity (eight persons) of the shelter.” Stuart F. Mesinger writes early in his book, published by the Adirondack Mountain Club (ADK), that this regulation “oddly” isn’t posted on the walls of the 212 or so shelters found in the Adirondack Park. Occasionally, that has led to uncivilized behavior in the Old >>More

January, 2010

Adirondack Peak Experiences
Author: Carol Stone White

Review by: Michael Virtanen

ADIRONDACK PEAK Experiences: Mountaineering Adventures, Misadventures and the Pursuit of “The 46” contains eighty-six essays and one poem inspired by wilderness outings, mostly in the High Peaks. It also contains brief histories of the Adirondack Mountain Club and the Adirondack Forty-Sixers (whose members have climbed all forty-six of the peaks). Carol Stone White, a Forty-Sixer herself, edited the anthology. Most of the accounts are short, written by enthusiasts about their own adventures. Many are illustrated by small black-and-white photographs. As many hikers know, the forty-six High Peaks were first climbed by Bob and George Marshall, along with their guide, Herb >>More

January, 2010

Historic Tales from the Adirondack Almanack
Author: John Warren

Review by: Neal Burdick

NO MATTER HOW MUCH you think you know about the Adirondacks, there’s always more to be learned. The proof of that hypothesis lies in John Warren’s new book Historic Tales from the Adirondack Almanack, an eclectic collection of stories, observations, and odds and ends from his equally eclectic, always informative, and highly entertaining Adirondack Almanack website. In a nutshell, if you like the site you’ll like the book. “These essays were meant to be glimpses of history, short pieces on context, not complete historical narratives,” says Warren in his preface. He admits that his “five-part history of snowmobiling in the >>More

September, 2009

Short Carries, Essays from Adirondack Life
Author: Elizabeth Folwell

Review by: Neal Burdick

Adirondack Life loyalists are acquainted with Betsy Folwell’s writing. Often neatly packaged in the magazine’s regular column “Short Carries,” for twenty years it has limned the Adirondack scene as no other writing has, presenting the region’s people, places, issues, spirit, spunk, and landscape with uncommon insight, humor, grace, and wisdom. Folwell’s essays now come in another neat package. Under one cover, also called Short Carries, are fifty-five selections spanning her career with the magazine and sampling the array of topics that have come under her penetrating yet sensitive scrutiny. “The anthology is a project in honor of Adirondack Life’s fortieth >>More

September, 2009

The Adirondack Reader
Author: Paul Jamieson and Neil Burdick

Review by: Michael Virtanen

Cracking The Adirondack Reader is like getting dropped deep in the backcountry. It’s dense, with little open space between the essays and excerpts, and it’s large, encompassing 495 pages, including 31 pages of biographical notes on the 117 writers, many renowned, all deeply familiar with the mountains at various times over the past four centuries. You’ll find some passages that are dark and old, like Jesuit missionary Isaac Jogues’s account of being marched through the Adirondacks by Iroquois captors who gnawed off his fingernails. Ralph Waldo Emerson goes deer-jacking at night at the storied Philosophers’ Camp on Follensbee Pond (as >>More

September, 2008

American Earth: Environmental Writing Since Thoreau
Author: Bill McKibben


The written word has been fundamental to the story of how Americans have interacted with the natural world. Nature writing comes in a diverse range of genres, from travel and exploration narratives to poetry, from the literature of contemplation and reflection to polemics. In a new anthology, American Earth, editor Bill McKibben has collected the subgenre of nature writing that he calls the “literature of American environmentalism.” His selections are largely about conflict, about people challenging the status quo, raising an alarm. Environmental writing shares with nature writing the awe for and delight in nature’s wonders, but it also displays >>More


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