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Adirondack Explorer

March, 2018

Radio Free Vermont
Author: Bill McKibben

Review by: Betsy Kepes

On the third page of Radio Free Vermont, Bill McKibben’s first novel, a Coors beer truck follows detour signs as it enters Vermont from the Crown Point Bridge. At the end of a long dirt road the driver is presented with a bag lunch (made with Vermont products) as people in balaclavas release the air from the truck’s tires, then dump hundreds of bottles of the “foreign” beer onto the ground. The apologetic activists also give the stunned driver a generous gift pack of beer selected from the fifty-one breweries in Vermont. McKibben—environmentalist, activist, and author—doesn’t worry about getting the >>More


October, 2017

The Stranger in the Woods The Extraordinary Story of the Last True Hermit
Author: Michael Finkel

Review by: Philip Terrie

Adirondack camp owners and bushwhackers will love this book. And so will people interested in the meaning of extreme solitude—who can tolerate it, who can’t. I’m not talking about the sort of solitude we all appreciate when we have an afternoon or maybe even a couple of days entirely to ourselves. This book is about a man who lived alone in the Maine woods for twenty-seven years. During that time, he uttered one word to another human being, and that word was “Hi.” I’m also not talking about hermits along the lines of those we’ve read about in the Adirondacks. >>More


July, 2017

John Apperson’s Lake George
Author: Ellen Apperson Brown

Review by: Neal Burdick

In the pantheon of Adirondack conservation greats, the name of John Apperson Jr. (1878-1963) is not as well-known as it deserves to be. His great-niece, independent scholar and historian Ellen Apperson Brown, has taken a major stride toward correcting that deficiency with publication of John Apperson’s Lake George, a new addition to the Images of America series from Arcadia Publishing. Apperson was an early and ardent proponent of muscle-powered winter recreation and a pioneer in the protection of Lake George’s islands and shoreline. He launched or became involved from the ground up in a number of conservation organizations, some that >>More


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