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Adirondack Explorer

April, 2017

New York’s Broken Constitution
Author: Peter J. Galie, Christopher Bopst & Gerald Benjamin

Review by: Philip Terrie

The New York State Constitution is a mess. So it’s no surprise that New York’s machinery of governance—legislation, the judiciary, the formulation and enforcement of policy, state finances, the separation of powers, and so much more—is also a mess. In New York’s Broken Constitution, a (mostly) well-researched and well-written book, ten experts (a good mix of lawyers and political scientists) lay out the almost countless ways in which the New York Constitution is anachronistic and incoherent—and thus almost hopelessly divorced from the day-to-day realities of governing in a complex, twenty-first-century state. On the flaws of our constitution and on how >>More


April, 2017

Continental Divide: A History of American Mountaineering
Author: Maurice Isserman

Review by: Phil Brown

In 1642, Darby Field, a resident of what is now New Hampshire, climbed White Hill, known by local Indians as Agiocochook and by moderns as Mount Washington, the highest mountain in New England. Others in the Massachusetts Bay Colony thought Field daft for climbing a mountain. It just wasn’t something people did. “Following his death in 1649, it was remarked that his was a life of ‘merriness marred by insanity,’” writes Maurice Isserman in Continental Divide: A History of American Mountaineering, a scholarly work that covers the exploits of mountain climbers from Field’s unusual adventure on Agiocochook to an American >>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

How to save the world
Author: Edward O. Wilson

Review by: Philip Terrie

Edward Wilson probably knows more about ants than any single person ever has—and perhaps ever will. But the study of ants, which he has been pursuing since he was a child in Alabama during the Great Depression, is only the beginning of this polymath’s prodigious appetite for understanding how our natural world works and what our place in that world is and should be. As his command of myrmecology (ant science) grew increasingly encyclopedic, his wonder at the complexities of ant society led him to breakthrough insights about broader ecological themes, especially concerning the importance of biodiversity. (It also led >>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


November, 2016

12 Adventures on New State Lands: Exploring the Finch, Pruyn Tracts
Author: Phil Brown

Review by: John Pitarresi

Chances are good that you’ve never seen Pine Lake. Or OK Slip Falls. You can now. Pine Lake and OK Slip Falls are two natural gems of the Adirondack Park that until recently had rarely been visited by the general public. New York State’s historic purchase of sixty-five thousand acres of former Finch, Pruyn & Company timberlands from the Nature Conservancy has put them into the public domain. But how do you get to them? What can you do once you get there? Phil Brown has the answers. 12 Adventures on New State Lands: Exploring the Finch, Pruyn Tracts is >>More


October, 2016

Heroes of the High Peaks
Author: Christine Bourjade

Review by: Philip Terrie

Book Review By PHILIP TERRIE From north to south, from east to west, the Adirondack Park is a spectacular place. We have vast expanses of intact forest, unpolluted lakes, and crystalline rivers with roiling whitewater. Everywhere you look, there’s something wonderful. But let’s face it: the High Peaks, especially that extraordinary environment on the alpine summits with its rare and delicate flora of the tundra, found nowhere else in New York, is the truly astonishing part of this splendid Park. Can anything really compare with the view from Haystack (or Dix or Gothics or Colden—fill in your personal favorite) on >>More


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


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