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Adirondack Explorer

September, 2009

Paul Smith’s Adirondack Hotel and College
Author: Neil Surprenant

Review by: Neal Burdick

Arcadia Publishing recently released two old-photo books as part of its “Images of America,” and both will appeal to aficionados of Adirondack history. One is about a famous person and his endeavors, the other about a famous place. Paul Smith is one of those larger-than-life figures in the region’s historic repertoire. In fact, he’s the only person to have a college (spelled with a possessive apostrophe) and a post office (without the apostrophe) named for him. Half a century after his death, he got his own zip code. In partnership with his wife, Lydia, Smith built a hotel on Lower >>More


September, 2009

Boats and Boating on Cranberry Lake
Author: Allen P. Splete

Review by: Neal Burdick

Arcadia Publishing recently released two old-photo books as part of its “Images of America,” and both will appeal to aficionados of Adirondack history. One is about a famous person and his endeavors, the other about a famous place. Paul Smith is one of those larger-than-life figures in the region’s historic repertoire. In fact, he’s the only person to have a college (spelled with a possessive apostrophe) and a post office (without the apostrophe) named for him. Half a century after his death, he got his own zip code. In partnership with his wife, Lydia, Smith built a hotel on Lower >>More


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


September, 2009

Lake George
Author: Carl Heilman II

Review by: Phil Brown

Carl Heilman II has just come out with Lake George, his third book of Adirondack photographs. Like his last one, The Adirondacks, this is a small-format book (7 by 5 inches) that sells for under $20. As the title indicates, he turned his lens on just part of the Adirondack Park, but it’s an especially iconic part: thirty-two-mile Lake George and its islands, peaks, and people.The photos show the region in all seasons and from many perspectives.You’ll find nature close-ups, mountaintop panoramas, aerial photos—he’s got the whole waterfront covered and then some. We’ve selected just a few of the 155 >>More


July, 2009

Adirondack Wildlife: A Field Guide
Author: James M. Ryan

Review by: Edward Kanze

For years, I lamented the fact that the great and celebrated corpus of Adirondack literature included so little about flora and fauna. The second (1982) edition of Paul Jamieson’s Adirondack Reader pretty much exemplified the state of affairs. Browse the index and you’ll see for yourself the scant attention Adirondack Mountain wildlife tended to receive from writers of literary bent. Happily, the times they are a-changin’. Curt Stager of Paul Smith’s College broke the field wide open a decade ago with the publication of his marvelous Field Notes from the Northern Forest (Syracuse, 1999). I’ve made contributions of my own, >>More


July, 2009

Heartwood
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 Frogs and Toads of North America
Author: Lang Elliott, Carl Gerhardt, and Carlos Davidson

Review by: EDWARD KANZE

In spring, birds flood the Adirondacks with music, and those who tune in report that the chorus thrills the soul. Yet listen closely in May and June, and you’ll detect a far older symphony. This one is of such ancient vintage that it, or something like it, shook the Jurassic air when swamps and marshes were prowled by dinosaurs. It is the noisy, sometimes musical, sometimes raucous display of passion staged every spring by frogs. Because the Adirondack climate tends to be cold, and because our terrain was recently scraped bare by glaciers, our diversity of frogs is low compared >>More




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