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Adirondack Explorer

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

May, 2015

Adirondack Outlaws
Author: Niki Kourofsky

Review by: Neal Burdick

Lives of crime Backcountry fastnesses—mountains, forests, canyons—have always been havens for those who take proper behavior with a (sometimes very large) grain of salt. Think the Wild Bunch (also known to moviegoers as the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang) or the Hatfields and McCoys. Closer to home, we have the likes of French Louie and Noah Rondeau, individualists who operated on the fringes of society and lived by their own code of conduct, although, by way of hometown defense, those two never killed anyone. Perhaps tipping our hats to an independent streak that goes back to Colonial times, we tend to make folk heroes out of these characters. But places like the Adirondacks have also harbored more >>More

January, 2015

The Legacy of Fort William Henry: Resurrecting the Past
Author: David R. Starbuck

Review by: Philip Terrie

History meets tourism Adirondack historians, including me, have given short shrift to the story of Native Americans in our part of New York. We have all paid too much attention to the generally shared assumption that the Adirondack region was used only seasonally by Indians who thus had no permanently established towns or villages here. The surrounding river valleys were indeed more hospitable in the winter than the higher elevations in the Adirondacks, but that doesn’t mean that Indians didn’t know this region, use it, and have a variety of important connections with it. One of the chief sources of >>More

May, 2014

A picturesque past
Author: Neil Surprenant

Review by: Kirk Peterson

  IT HAS BEEN SAID that we are all residents of the same country called the past. No place values its past more than Saranac Lake, and Arcadia Publishing’s Images of America: Saranac Lake will be warmly welcomed here. Authored by Neil Surprenant, director of the Joan Weill Adirondack Library at Paul Smith’s College, and drawing on several hundred photos from the Adirondack Room of the Saranac Lake Free Library, the book brings our old community back to life. The book is organized into thematic chapters picturing the village in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. “Making a Living,” the first >>More

March, 2014

Never a Dull Moment
Author: Daniel Way, M.D.

Review by: Neal Burdick

DANIEL WAY comes by his predilection for photography naturally, or perhaps one should say genetically—he is the great-great-nephew of Seneca Ray Stoddard, pioneering photographer of the post-Civil War Adirondacks. The Glens Falls native’s love of the Adirondacks and all that there is about them may also come down from Stoddard, one of the few to whom the Adirondack Park owes its existence, thanks to his presentation of his work to the State Assembly in 1892. Way is also a medical doctor, practicing rural primary care for more than thirty years with the Hudson Headwaters Health Network. Through his work he >>More

March, 2014

When Men and Mountains Meet
Author: Glenn L. Pearsall

Review by: Philip Terrie

GLENN PEARSALL has combed through long shelves of published works about early development efforts north of the Mohawk. The result is a thought-provoking book about selected (on what basis is never clearly explained) episodes in North Country history, covering the years roughly between the end of the American Revolution and 1820. The stories he tells are presented vigorously and convincingly, with deft deployment of telling detail and dramatic anecdote. Although there is much to admire in When Men and Mountains Meet, there also are problems, most of which are the typical but by no means inevitable consequence of unedited self-publishing. >>More

November, 2013

A Visitor’s Guide to Camp Santanoni
Author: Charlotte K. Barrett

Review by: Philip Terrie

Great Guide to a Great Camp. JUST NORTH of Newcomb sits one of the Adirondack Park’s cultural treasures: Camp Santanoni. Designed by architect Robert H. Robertson in 1892 for Albany banker Robert Pruyn, Camp Santanoni manifests all the marvelous eclecticism and attention to detail that make the Adirondack Great Camp one of our region’s chief contributions to American arts and crafts. While the preservation and stabilization of this complex of buildings has been underway for over a decade and while it has been open to anyone willing to walk or ride a bicycle down the five-mile dirt road from Route >>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

September, 2013

Louis Marshall and the Rise of Jewish Ethnicity in America
Author: M.M. Silver

Review by: Philip Terrie

IF WE WERE to make a list of Adirondack families that have left a truly lasting imprint, both here and in the rest of the country, the Marshalls would surely be near or at the top. Most Adirondack enthusiasts are probably familiar with the impressive credentials of Robert Marshall: one of the original Adirondack Forty-Sixers, indefatigable long-distance hiker, author of widely read books on Alaska and forestry, co-founder of the Wilderness Society, and one of the most important American environmentalists of the first half of the twentieth century. But how many know about the distinguished career of his father, Louis >>More

July, 2013

An Adirondack Passage
Author: Christine Jerome

Review by: Betsy Kepes

When my sons were ages four and eleven, my family drove to Blue Mountain Lake on a warm October day, filled our kayaks with food and gear, and launched our boats. Like hundreds of boaters before us, we planned to spend several days on the lakes and rivers of the most popular long-distance canoe route in the Adirondacks—Blue Mountain Lake, Raquette Lake, Forked Lake, Long Lake, Tupper Lake, and the winding miles of the Raquette River that connect them. Our journey left me with magnificent memories, but I wish I’d known about Christine Jerome’s book, An Adirondack Passage. It should >>More