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Adirondack Explorer

September, 2009

Historic Images of the Adirondacks
Author: Victoria Verner Sandiford

Review by: Neal Burdick

Old pictures are sure to please. And so Historic Images of the Adirondacks is a quick, enjoyable tour of life from 1870 to 1960, the period linking the oldest and youngest of the two hundred photographs reproduced in these pages. The photos are from the Adirondack Museum’s collection of eighty thousand pictures, and many of them have made appearances on the museum’s popular Photobelt, where you can sit mesmerized as image after image glides slowly by, and lose all track of time. The book is organized by region: Lake George, Old Forge, High Peaks, and so on. Collectively, the selections >>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

July, 2009

Author: Marylee Armour

Review by: Neal Burdick

It all began when one person decided to introduce an acquaintance to high technology so he could record his low-tech life. “I didn’t really start out to write a biography,” says Marylee Armour of her book Heartwood: The Adirondack Homestead Life of W. Donald Burnap. The book, first published in 1988 (so when we say “high technology” we aren’t talking iPods), was reissued in 2007. “I wanted to help Don learn to use his new tape recorder. It’s hard to just start telling your stories into a microphone, so I began to ask him questions. Later, with miles of recordings >>More

July, 2009

Lake Champlain: An Illustrated History
Author: Adirondack Life

Review by: Philip Terrie

On July 12, 1609, Samuel de Champlain, along with about sixty Canadian Indians, canoed into the lake that he quickly named after himself. On the twenty-ninth, the party spotted a band of Mohawks, enemies of his Algonquin allies. Abrief battle ensued the following morning, during which Champlain, pretty much without provocation, shot and killed two Mohawks and wounded another. Though historians are not certain where this deadly encounter occurred, the consensus places it near Ticonderoga. Champlain’s drawing of the battle, published in 1613, is the earliest known European depiction of any land inside what is now the Adirondack Park. Whether >>More

May, 2009

The Hudson: America’s River
Author: Frances F. Dunwell


In the summer of 1894, in the midst of a frightening drought, New York State convened a constitutional convention. Along with such issues as judicial and civilservice reform, education, and home rule for cities and villages, the delegates considered the future of the Adirondacks. They were meeting in Albany, near the banks of the Hudson River, acutely aware that two years of drought had left the water level ominously low and equally mindful that human activity—chiefly a frenzy of ruthless logging in the Adirondacks—had made a bad situation even worse. Anxiety about the streams flowing off Adirondack slopes—mainly the Hudson—and >>More

March, 2009

High Peaks A History of Hiking in the Adirondacks
Author: Tim Rowland


Tim Rowland’s High Peaks: A History of Hiking the Adirondacks from Noah to Neoprene is an impressionistic review of those aspects of Adirondack history that helped form the landscape that modern-day hikers traverse. Rowland, a humor columnist for the Herald-Mail in Hagerstown, Md., began visiting the Adirondacks in the 1960s, staying at his grandfather’s camp on Third Lake in the Fulton Chain. His first climb was up neighboring Bald Mountain at age 6, an ascent he fondly recalls in the introduction. He quickly admits, however, that at 8 he was allowed to operate his grandfather’s motorboat, and it was another >>More

January, 2009

America’s First Wilderness
Author: Norman J. Van Valkenburgh


Have you ever wondered about the origins of the Adirondack Park? Have you ever found yourself guessing at the difference between the Park and the Forest Preserve? Well, your guessing is at an end, because America’s First Wilderness by Norman Van Valkenburgh answers all those questions and more about the origins, history and development of the Adirondack and Catskill Parks. This book, written for young readers, will fill you in on the forefathers of the Adirondack and Catskill Parks, such as George Perkins Marsh and Verplanck Colvin. Colvin was a student of law in his father’s office in Albany, but >>More

January, 2009

Echoes in These Mountains
Author: Glenn L. Pearsall


Nineteenth-century railroad tycoon Thomas Durant. Modern-day wilderness- preservation star Howard Zahniser. Pioneering Civil War photographer Matthew Brady. Cover girl /poet/confidante of the glitterati Jeanne Robert Foster. Tory sympathizer Sir John Johnson. They may not seem to have a lot in common. Each of these disparate characters does, however, have a tie to the town of Johnsburg, a huge chunk of real estate in the southeast Adirondacks. One of the largest townships in New York state, it encompasses North Creek, North River and several other hamlets; Gore, Crane, Puffer and other mountains; a hefty portion of the huge Siamese Ponds Wilderness >>More

November, 2008

Benedict Arnold’s Navy
Author: James L. Nelson

Review by: JOHN ROWEN

The weather was nasty. The British were sailing up Lake Champlain, ahead of a blustery north wind. The Americans, drenched by waves, were lying in ambush in the mile-wide channel between Valcour Island and the mainland, manning a small, hastily constructed fleet. The British expected to sweep away the Americans so they could freely move troops up the lake to strike at Fort Ticonderoga and the northern frontier. The Americans desperately wanted to delay the British, perhaps even score a victory, so they could hold Ticonderoga. James Nelson tells the story of the ensuing battle, which took place on Oct. >>More


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