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March, 2017

Murder in the Adirondacks
Author: Craig Brandon

Review by: Betsy Kepes

Infamous murder revisited By Betsy Kepes It’s been over one hundred years since a search party found Grace Brown’s body in the bottom of Big Moose Lake, an overturned rowboat floating nearby. In 1906 the face of the man who walked away from that remote bay would become familiar to many Americans as he sat slouched in a chair at his murder trial in Herkimer. The local and national press wrote front-page stories about Chester Gillette, the handsome young man who murdered his pregnant girlfriend so he could rise up the social ladder. Craig Brandon has a section in the >>More

March, 2017

The Underground Railroad in the Adirondack Town of Chester
Author: Donna Lagoy and Laura Seldman

Review by: Amy Godine

The right side of history By Amy Godine The publication of a new book about the Underground Railroad in the Adirondacks, focusing on its supporters and their good work in the Town of Chester in Warren County, rides a high wave of public interest in this dramatic chapter of our history. No bookstore lacks a full-frontal display of Colson Whitehead’s explosive novel The Underground Railroad, with Oprah’s golden imprimatur on the front jacket. Regional scholarship is booming: in just the last decade, books and articles have documented Underground Railroad activity in Indiana, Buffalo, Detroit, Vermont, New York City, Pennsylvania, and >>More

March, 2017

We Were There: World War II Stories from the Adirondacks’ Greatest Generation
Author: Daniel Way

Review by: Neal Burdick

If you’re looking for a book that showcases the beauty, the tranquility, the recreational opportunities to be found in the Adirondacks, don’t get this one. But if you want unvarnished stories from some of the region’s most remarkable, if often nearly anonymous, older citizens, it’s for you. In We Were There: World War II Stories from the Adirondacks’ Greatest Generation, Dr. Daniel Way, a family-care physician with the Hudson Headwaters Health Network, which serves much of the Adirondacks, has assembled the riveting memories of eighteen of his patients, all survivors of World War II. We become acquainted with sixteen men >>More

December, 2016

The good doctor’s good life
Author: Mary B. Hotaling

Review by: Neal Burdick

It’s no stretch to say that Dr. Edward Livingston Trudeau did more than any other individual to put Saranac Lake on the map. He was the driving force behind the transformation of an Adirondack lakeside hamlet of loggers and hunters into one of the world’s foremost health-care and research centers. He accomplished this through overpowering force of will and unrelenting optimism while suffering from debilitating tuberculosis for the last four decades of his life and simultaneously enduring a chain of personal tragedies. Trudeau’s remarkable life is chronicled in a new book by Saranac Lake historian Mary Hotaling. A Rare Romance >>More

June, 2016

What makes Alex tick?
Author: Alex Honnold with David Roberts

Review by: R.L. Stolz

BOOK REVIEW By R.L. STOLZ For many folks, the mere notion of climbing a sheer cliff, rising vertically for hundreds—or perhaps thousands—of feet, is the stuff of nightmares. Doing so without a rope, or at breakneck speed, fully understanding that your first mistake will almost certainly be your last, is simply beyond comprehension. Welcome to Alex Honnold’s world. Written from the perspective of the world’s consummate adventure athlete, Honnold’s new book, Alone on the Wall, walks the reader through a series of first-person accounts of his most mind-boggling accomplishments. In April 2008 he stunned the climbing world by soloing the 1,200-foot- all Moonlight Buttress in Zion National Park without a rope. His ascent >>More

June, 2016

Hard-learned lessons
Author: Peter W. Kick

Review by: Tony Goodwin

  Desperate Steps is a collection of twenty narratives of backcountry accidents and misadventures in the Northeast. The incidents are about evenly divided among Maine, New Hampshire, and the Adirondacks with one incident in Vermont and two in the Catskills. Most of the incidents occurred within the past fifteen years, but the book includes a 1963 incident on Mount Katahdin where both the initial victim and the intended rescuer perished. Fifteen of the incidents involved at least one fatality, and in five of these incidents there were no survivors, leaving only informed speculation as to their decision-making and final moments. The author, Peter Kick, says the purpose of the book “is to help you enact a more >>More

July, 2015

Philosophers at Follensby
Author: Stephen L. Dyson / James Schlett

Review by: Philip Terrie

Few incidents in nineteenth-century Adirondack history have been more often recounted than the famous Philosophers’ Camp at Follensby Pond. The story of how Ralph Waldo Emerson and an assortment of VIPs from the Concord-Cambridge axis camped for several weeks in 1858 on the shores of a virtually untouched lake deep in the wilderness has become a familiar chestnut in the Adirondack canon. Curiously, it has been largely ignored by scholars. Emerson is the subject of more academic studies than you can count. His first book, Nature (1836), is among the most analyzed, anthologized, and cited works in American literature and >>More

September, 2014

Man and Nature: George Perkins Marsh
Author: David Lowenthal

Review by: Phillip Terrie

A lesson for our times When we fiddle with nature, there can be unforeseen consequences. When we fiddle with nature in big ways, entire civilizations collapse. This was the essence of a densely written book, Man and Nature; or, Physical Geography as Modified by Human Action, published in 1864 in New York and London. It wasn’t much anticipated, and the author, George Perkins Marsh, a former congressman from Vermont, was little known. Yet it went on to be an international bestseller, was translated into multiple languages, was repeatedly updated in expanded editions, and is now generally recognized to be one >>More

July, 2014

An Adirondack life
Author: by Edward Kanze

Review by: by Betsy Kepes

As nature lovers, we hoped to take root not just anywhere, but in, or along the edge of, a wild place. We insisted that the spot be governed by restrictions certain to prevent abuse. We had seen the landscape of our youth despoiled by “development”—a curious word often meaning the reduction of a landscape from a habitat shared democratically by thousands of species to a place dominated ruthlessly by one.

Watching the pageant of nature play out at our place, a grand show with tens of thousands of actors crowding the stage, it’s clear that appointing ourselves stewards of “our” eighteen acres would be ludicrous. The web of interconnections, an “Internet” if ever there was one, is impossibly complex, so much so that it would be impossible for anyone to comprehend it, let alone manage the system intelligently. All we can do is try to be on our best behavior, live modestly, take care of our needs, and hope for the best outcomes.

July, 2014

The world according to Bill
Author: by William C. Frenette

Review by: by Neal Burdick

Lifelong Tupper Laker Bill Frenette embodied the word “active.” Here are some highlights (you might want to go get a sandwich or something; this may take a while): He was a founder and leader of the ski patrol at the Big Tupper Ski Area, whose trails he helped design. He served as president of the Adirondack Forty-Sixers. He once guided Robert F. Kennedy and his family through the Hudson Gorge. He climbed in South Africa and Bavaria, surfed in Hawaii, bicycled in Newfoundland, rafted the Grand Canyon, skied in the Italian Alps, and swam the fjords of Norway. Since all >>More

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