September, 2016

Back from the brink
Author: Darryl McGrath

Review by: Edward Kanze

Book Review By EDWARD KANZE We all see things differently. My distinguished writer friend the late Maurice Kenny and I argued on more than one occasion over what sorts of books we like. I provoked the debate, asserting that given a choice between a brilliantly written book with not much at its core and a book of fabulous material presented in pedestrian prose, I’d choose the fabulous and the pedestrian every time. Maurice, a champion of fine writing and a gifted writer himself, disagreed, vehemently. I wish, when we last crossed swords, I had Darryl McGrath’s Flight Paths to thump >>More


November, 2014

Trees of Eastern North America
Author: Gil Nelson, Christopher J. Earle, and Richard Spellenberg

Review by: Ed Kanze

  The giants among us For all the vaunted magnitude of the largest animal that ever lived, and still lives, consider the largest living trees. A few giant coast redwoods skyscrape nearly four hundred feet above their California roots, while the tallest tree of our eastern forests, the white pine, may shoot nearly two hundred feet toward the energy source that fuels its prodigious growth. By comparison a blue whale is puny. From stem to stern, the largest individuals measure not quite a hundred feet. In the Adirondacks and across much of the North American landscape, trees loom larger than any other kind of organism. Every one of us >>More


September, 2013

The Crossley ID Guide & Hawks in Flight
Author: Crossley ID Guide: Richard Crossley, Jerry Liguori & Brian Sullivan & Hawks in Flight: Pete Dunne, David Allen Sibley & Clay Sutton

Review by: Edward Kanze

There can be no greater thrill on an Adirondack hike in autumn than to stand on a summit and have hawks and falcons stream over your head. Perhaps there’ll be an eagle or two shooting past for good measure, and an osprey or harrier, too. Fall colors and prime hiking weather coincide with migration season for day-flying raptors. What you see on particular hikes is a matter of hit or miss, but if you hit just right, you may get exciting close looks at birds otherwise difficult to admire close up in the wild. While migrating long distances, hawks, eagles, >>More


May, 2013

Kaufman Field Guide to Nature of New England & Eastern Alpine Guide
Author: Kenn and Kimberly Kaufman (Kaufman Guide) & M.T. Jones and L.L. Wiley, Editors (Eastern Alpine Guide)

Review by: Ed Kanze

Nature rare and common HOW IS THE INTREPID Adirondack explorer to make sense of all the flora, fauna, and fungi out there? In the past, the typical way was to carry field guides, which, in the grand tradition of nature books, tended to tackle one subject at a time. A generalist wanting greater knowledge of the life along the Van Hoevenberg Trail up Mount Marcy might stuff a pack with guides to birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians, trees, shrubs, wildfl owers, ferns, and more. A single field guide might weigh two or three pounds. To carry half a dozen or more >>More


May, 2013

Common Mosses of the Northeast and Appalachians
Author: By Karl B. McKnight, Joseph R. Rohrer, Kirsten McKnight Ward, and Warren J. Perdrizet

Review by: Ed Kanze

A must for moss mavens Field guides don’t get much more specific than the beautiful new Common Mosses of the Northeast and Appalachians, the latest in the excellent series of field guides published by Princeton University Press. The identification of mosses, aside from distinguishing a few easily recognized common species, has long been the exclusive province of botanists specializing in mosses and of a few rabid amateurs. Collecting samples in the field and carting them back to a laboratory, where they are scrutinized under a microscope, has always been an inescapable part of the game. Even most botanists are unwilling >>More


July, 2012

Peterson Field Guide Mammals of North America
Author: Fiona A. Reid

Review by: Ed Kanze

Another fine new field guide useful to Adirondack naturalists is Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East by Dennis Paulson (Princeton University Press, 2011). This book contains such a wealth of detail and natural history that it may initially overwhelm the user. Still, it’s hard to argue with the author’s efforts to show and tell all we need to know. Dragonflies make themselves known in every corner of the Adirondacks in every season but winter. Paddlers may duck as big ones fly by, or they may pause to admire the dazzling colors of a northern bluet, a tiny and delicate damselfly, >>More


July, 2012

Dragonflies and Dameselflies of the East
Author: Dennis Paulson

Review by: Ed Kanze

Another fine new field guide useful to Adirondack naturalists is Dragonflies and Damselflies of the East by Dennis Paulson (Princeton University Press, 2011). This book contains such a wealth of detail and natural history that it may initially overwhelm the user. Still, it’s hard to argue with the author’s efforts to show and tell all we need to know. Dragonflies make themselves known in every corner of the Adirondacks in every season but winter. Paddlers may duck as big ones fly by, or they may pause to admire the dazzling colors of a northern bluet, a tiny and delicate damselfly, >>More


July, 2012

Peterson Field Guide to Moths of Northeastern North America
Author:

Review by: Ed Kanze

Every once in a long while a new field guide comes along to revolutionize and reinvigorate its particular corner of the genre. Such a book is the new Peterson Field Guide to Moths of Northeastern North America, just out from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. Despite the presence of his name on the cover, the author is not Roger Tory Peterson (1908-1996), who helped inspire millions to chase and study birds and wildflowers during a long and distinguished career. Peterson launched the series, but credit for this book goes to its Canadian coauthors, David Beadle and Seabrooke Leckie. Moths, you say? I >>More


September, 2011

Hawks at a Distance: Identification of Migrant Raptors
Author: Jerry Liguori

Review by: Ed Kanze

Is there a thrill in birdwatching— and for that matter in hiking and mountaineering— half as electrifying as standing atop a rocky summit on a crisp fall day, watching a hawk, falcon, or eagle shoot low over your head? You peer into the raptor’s keen eyes with awe and a touch of fear. Fear—because you sense that the predator is sizing you up. If it were bigger and you smaller, the encounter might end differently, and both you and the bird know it. Autumn hiking and watching hawks go together like clams and chowder. The reason is practical. Raptors traveling >>More


May, 2010

Freshwater Fish of the Northeast
Author: David A. Patterson

Review by: Edward Kanze

WHY DO WE FIND FISH so appealing? After all, humans are hardly the piscivores ospreys and otters are. Yet fish and fishing have preoccupied the minds of men, women, and children as far back as history and archeology can plumb. The literature on fish and fishing grows more vast and diverse by the year. “A man may fish with the worm that hath eat of a king, and eat of the fish that hath fed of that worm,” says Hamlet. I grew up with a Shakespeare-brand fishing rod in my hands, and while I never thought about it then, today >>More


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