Saturday, November 25, 2017

Adirondack Historian Publishes Essay Collection

Philip Terrie bookThe historian Philip Terrie has come out with a new book that collects nearly sixty articles that have appeared in the Adirondack Explorer newsmagazine over the past two decades.

Seeing the Forest: Reviews, Musings, and Opinions from an Adirondack Historian covers a wide range of subjects: Adirondack art and literature, the history of the Forest Preserve, the scourges of acid rain and climate change, the meaning of wilderness, and the saga of a cougar that trekked from South Dakota to the Northeast.

Terrie, who lives in Ithaca and Long Lake, is retired from teaching American studies at Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Seeing the Forest is his fourth book. His previous works also dealt with the Adirondacks. His best known is Contested Terrain: A New History of Nature and People in the Adirondacks. He also is the author of Forever Wild: A Cultural History of Wilderness in the Adirondacks and Wildlife and Wilderness: A History of Adirondack Mammals.

He has written for the Explorer since its inception in 1998. For Seeing the Forest, he selected fifty-eight of his best pieces.

I read through all the articles while preparing the book for publication. I’d be hard-pressed to pick a favorite. All are infused with a knowledge of everything Adirondack and a critical sensibility sharpened by years of reading and research. And the prose is clear and to the point.

The book is divided into four sections. The first is “People and Places.” Here you’ll learn about such luminaries as Louis Marshall, defender of Article 14; Clarence Petty, the Adirondack trapper turned conservationist; and Howard Zahniser, who worked on the federal Wilderness Act at a cabin in Bakers Mills.

The second section is “Arts and Letters.” Terrie reviews the artwork of painters such as Winslow Homer, Georgia O’Keeffe, and Harold Weston; the photographs of Seneca Ray Stoddard; and the writings of past and present authors, including Ed Kanze and Bill McKibben. I especially liked his essay “Classic Adirondack Literature,” on works that appeared before the Civil War.

Philip TerrieThe third section, “Environment and Policy,” digs into the thorny environmental problems facing the Adirondack Park and the world at large. It opens with an essay about George Perkins Marsh whose Man and Nature, published in 1864, was among the first books to sound the alarm about the ruination of the natural world. Skipping ahead 150 years, Terrie also writes about what contemporary scientists such as Curt Stager and Jerry Jenkins have to say about today’s threats to the environment.

The final section is “Musings and Opinions,” in which Terrie expresses his views on a miscellany of topics. In “Wilderness,” he contrasts the hubbub of civilization with the serenity he finds at a remote pond in the High Peaks Wilderness. Elsewhere, he takes the Adirondack Park Agency to task for not doing enough to protect the Park, comes down in favor of wind turbines in the Adirondacks, rebuts the notion that economic growth and environmental protection are at odds, and calls on the state to make a stretch of the Raquette River motor-free.

The articles I’ve mentioned are just a sample of what you’ll find in Seeing the Forest. You can view the table of contents by clicking here.

Seeing the Forest is hardcover book, 240 pages. The color photograph on the dust jacket was taken by Carl Heilman II. There are some black-and-white illustrations inside.

The book was published by the Adirondack Explorer. It can be purchased online at the Explorer website and in stores. It is distributed by North Country Books in Utica. It sells for $29.95.

Photo of Philip Terrie by Ann Lofting.


Phil Brown

Since 1999, Phil Brown has been Editor of the nonprofit Adirondack Explorer, the regional bimonthly with a focus on outdoor recreation and environmental issues, the same topics he writes about here at Adirondack Almanack.

Phil is also an energetic outdoorsman whose job and personal interests often find him hiking, canoeing, rock climbing, trail running, and backcountry skiing.

He is the author of Adirondack Paddling: 60 Great Flatwater Adventures, which he co-published with the Adirondack Mountain Club, and the editor of Bob Marshall in the Adirondacks, an anthology of Marshall’s writings.

Visit Lost Pond Press for more information.




2 Responses

  1. Charlie S says:

    ” and Howard Zahniser, who worked on the federal Wilderness Act at a cabin in Bakers Mills.”

    Recently I found a letter addressed to my grandfather Robert G. Stehlin from Richard Baker dated Nov. 10,1918. The postmark is stamped Warrensburg. I am almost certain this is one of the Bakers from Bakers Mills fame and have since tried to contact a Leonard Baker of Richard Baker & Sons, a lumber retail company at Warrensburg but the only number I found on a big website is out of service. No email address which is the norm for businesses it seems.

    I thought the Baker’s might be interested in knowing about this letter.
    My grandfather was a friend of this Richard Baker who talks about hunting in Long Lake with a party of four almost a hundred years ago and he mentions a John Beswick as being in that party. He talks about skidding logs with “our new team.” There’s not much to the letter but every little thing excites me and surely his surviving kin would be interested to know I found this letter. I most certainly would be if he was related to me.

    Anyone know of the Bakers and how to get a hold of them?

  2. Charlie S says:

    I just received this book in the mail. By the image of book in this post I was thinking it was going to be a tall book it turns out to be a compact volume and tight and a very nice package indeed. And it starts with a bit on Arpad Gerster whose writings I have enjoyed reading over the years. This is a very nice title to add to my Adirondack collection thank you Philip and Phil. I am going to enjoy reading this.

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