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Adirondack Explorer

January, 2007

Why the Adirondacks Look the Way They Do: A Natural History
Author: Mike Storey

Review by: PAUL GRONDAHL

On the bookcases in my study, I have three shelves of books on the Adirondacks. The bulk of the volumes came from the library of Barney Fowler. Barney was the author of three volumes of the Adirondack Album compilation and a columnist at the Times Union. It was my good fortune that Barney, in all his big-hearted gruffness, took this cub reporter under his tutelage when I joined the paper in 1984. Barney taught me that a storyteller could find a deep well of colorful characters and authentic places to write about within the Blue Line. He introduced me around >>More


November, 2006

Over the Mountain and Home Again
Author: Edward Kanze

Review by: PHILIP TERRIE

The literature of nature—of being in nature, of contemplating its marvels with an educated and sensitive eye and writing about it with insight and skill— is one of the world’s great genres. Our country’s first great nature writer was William Bartram, who in 1791 described with exquisite detail his peregrinations through the Southeast. Many students of American literature would argue that Henry David Thoreau took the form to its finest expression with Walden (1854) and his lesserknown but always rewarding AWeek on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849) and The Maine Woods (1864). Nearer to home, John Burroughs in a >>More


May, 2006

The Great South Woods II
Author: Peter O’Shea

Review by: NEAL BURDICK

Want proof that Peter O’Shea is a serious naturalist? Pay close attention to the section titled “Wildlife and Changes Around a Homestead” in his new book The Great South Woods II. The homestead is O’Shea’s “own humble abode” in the northwest Adirondacks hamlet of Fine. He acquired it in 1973, moved in shortly after, and has been closely observing wildlife from it—and in it—ever since. O’Shea chronicles the progression of avian life as the open fields around his house metamorphose into young forest, the result in part of what he calls “an ill-advised planting of eight acres with red pine >>More


March, 2006

The Ardent Birder: On the Craft of Birdwatching
Author: Todd Newberry Illustrated by Gene Holtan

Review by: JOHN THAXTON

When I finished the three-page introduction to The Ardent Birder I concluded, with a yawn, that while very sweet and even tender the book seemed far too basic for an experienced birder like myself. But I found the bordering-on-theprecious tone disarmingly honest and refreshing, and the arrangement of material suggested by the contents meticulously sensible, so I decided to read at least a few short chapters. On the second page of the first chapter, my yawn somersaulted into a smile as I reached for a pencil to mark the first of many statements I would mark by the time I >>More


November, 2005

Adirondack Weather
Author: Jerome S. Thaler

Review by: NEAL BURDICK

According to a North American meteorology book I once had, the United States is affected by 13 storm tracks, and 10 of them are capable of working their nastiness in one manner or another on the Adirondacks. Perhaps that is why, as the popular saying goes, if you don’t like the weather around here, wait five minutes. While you’re waiting, read Adirondack Weather, a new book from Jerome S. Thaler. You’ll discover that no matter how weird the weather might be at the moment, at some point in the not-so-distant past it was doing something even weirder, more extreme and/or >>More


September, 2005

Birds of New York State
Author: Robert E. Budliger & Gregory Kennedy

Review by: EDWARD KANZE

Who needs another bird book? Adirondack birdwatchers, and birders elsewhere in North America, have good reason these days to feel as if they’ve been thrust into an Alfred Hitchcock film. Bird books! Bird books! Everywhere we turn, new ones batter our senses, flashing pretty covers, darkening horizons by their sheer menacing numbers, clamoring for our attention and our cash. Ever since Knopf published its runaway bestseller The Sibley Guide to Birds in 2000, publishers have been targeting the disposable income of birdwatchers in the same spirit that a barred owl scrutinizes mice. Visit a bookstore or Web bookseller and see >>More


January, 2004

Mammal Tracks and Sign of the Northeast
Author: Diane K. Gibbons

Review by: EDWARD KANZE

You’re out on skis, crossing a field of powder. Or maybe it’s a warmer time of year, and you’re paddling along a muddy lakeshore. You think you’re the first one there. Then you spy footprints. Who made them? If the tracks don’t reveal the imprint of skis, snowshoes, or Vibram soles, odds are you’re following something that walks or hops on four legs. But what? Here you must know how to track. The best way to learn tracking is simply to get out there and do it. Look. Ask questions. Sleuth until you find the answers. No prior knowledge required. >>More


January, 2004

Mammal Tracks & Sign A Guide to North American Species
Author: Mark Elbroch

Review by: EDWARD KANZE

You’re out on skis, crossing a field of powder. Or maybe it’s a warmer time of year, and you’re paddling along a muddy lakeshore. You think you’re the first one there. Then you spy footprints. Who made them? If the tracks don’t reveal the imprint of skis, snowshoes, or Vibram soles, odds are you’re following something that walks or hops on four legs. But what? Here you must know how to track. The best way to learn tracking is simply to get out there and do it. Look. Ask questions. Sleuth until you find the answers. No prior knowledge required. >>More


January, 2004

Mammals of North America
Author: Roland W. Kays and Don E. Wilson

Review by: EDWARD KANZE

You’re out on skis, crossing a field of powder. Or maybe it’s a warmer time of year, and you’re paddling along a muddy lakeshore. You think you’re the first one there. Then you spy footprints. Who made them? If the tracks don’t reveal the imprint of skis, snowshoes, or Vibram soles, odds are you’re following something that walks or hops on four legs. But what? Here you must know how to track. The best way to learn tracking is simply to get out there and do it. Look. Ask questions. Sleuth until you find the answers. No prior knowledge required. >>More