Friday, May 1, 2020

Quarantine reads: More recommended Adirondack reading

Thanks to all who responded to our call for recommended Adirondack, environmental and nature-themed reading to pass the time in COVID-19 quarantine.

Here’s the original post

We also reached out to a handful of Almanack contributors to ask for their input and here’s some additional suggestions to add to the list:

“The Adirondacks – Wild Island of Hope,” by Gary Randorf (John Hopkins University Press)
David Gibson, Managing Partner, Adirondack Wild: Friends of the Forest Preserve

From Ed Zahniser:

  • I edited Adirondack writings by and about my father (Howard Zahniser)’s Adirondack conservation/wilderness work as the book “Where Wilderness Preservation Began,” still available from North Country Books.
  • Paul Schaefer’s books “Adirondack Cabin Country” and “Defending the Wilderness” are also important and interesting books.
  • Maitland Desormo’s book “Noah John Rondeau: Adirondack Hermit,” is a great read. Paul Schaefer’s grandson David Greene cracked Rondeau’s code writing. David noticed that Rondeau was listing weather and calendar days. From that he was able to interpret Rondeau’s “alphabet.”
  • I also edited and produced “Ranger Bowback: An Adirondack Farmer,” memoir by Daisy Dalaba Allen, which recounts subsistence farming near the end of Edwards Hill Road well into the 1950s. There are not many books about Southern Adirondack farming.
  • “Wilderness Forever: Howard Zahniser and the Path to the Wilderness Act,” by Mark W.T. Harvey
  • “The Wilderness Writings of Howard Zahniser (anthology),” by Mark W.T. Harvey
  • A Wilderness Original: Bob Marshall,” by James M. Glover
  • Local Memoir North Creek area: Richard Stewart’s “The Recipe of Life”
  • “Neighbors of Yesterday,” Jeanne Robert Foster
  • “The Adirondack Park,” Frank Graham, Jr.

From Phil Terrie

  • For the classics, I suggest you look up a piece I wrote for the Explorer on 19th-cent. travel narratives (May-June 2012, reprinted in my book, published by the Adirondack Explorer, “Seeing the Forest“).
  • The best academic books with really good Adirondack history are Karl Jacoby’s “Crimes Against Nature” (only 1/4 about the Adks) and Melissa Otis’s “Rural Indigenousness.”

Ben Brosseau, Director of Communications for Adirondack Mountain Club, shared this post of ADK must-reads:  He added: “‘The Adirondack Reader’ and ‘Adirondack Archangels’ are personal favorites.” 

Check out writer/editor John Davis‘ suggestions here:


Stay informed about news and information about the Adirondacks by signing up for the Almanack’s daily news digest:

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Melissa is a journalist with experience as a reporter and editor with the Burlington Free Press, Ithaca Journal and Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. She worked as a communications specialist for the Adirondack North Country Association and is currently digital editor for Adirondack Explorer, overseeing both the Explorer's website and its community forum the Adirondack Almanack. She enjoys hiking, camping and other outdoors activities, and spending time with her husband, their twin daughters, and rescue animals -- two dogs and two cats.

7 Responses

  1. Orson Phelps II says:

    I was lucky because growing up in Keene Valley most of my family did not know how to read. I learned to read after I got attacked by ole soft paws MaGee the biggest black bear this side of the Ausable. He ripped my legs clean off my handsome torso (don’t worry they grew back with Uncle Blanch’s balsam medicinal platonic lubricant) and I could only crawl to the library basement to escape. I was there for four weeks and learned to read, little did I know but I was reading the library’s little known Yiddish collection and came out fluent, took me another decade to learn English, and just a few more weals after that to learn to read Basque. Love those Adirondack memories.

  2. Andy Coney says:

    And don’t forget William H H Murray’s, Adventures in the Wilderness: Or Camp-Life in the Adirondacks, the book that started it all.

    • Suzanne says:

      That’s a wonderful book. I have the first edition, which I just reread recently while sorting out my library. What a treasure!

  3. Thomas Bruch says:

    Love the ADK !

  4. DEAN D LEFEBVRE says:

    What about Oliver’s war? Now this is a book that truly shows what a TRUE Adirondacker is all about?

    This book shows pretty much how things were way back in the Adirondacks against those who come here from outside and try to change our way of life.

    It’s still happening today in every Village and Town.

    They want us to stop hunting, fishing along with changing our zoning or iur sch6 are not as good as theirs.

    Seriously they have more influence it seems than do we lifelong Adirondackers.

    OLIVER’S WAR is a must read for all people interested in the Adirondacks our home

  5. Fred Beltz says:

    I wasn’t able to see the original article so perhaps you covered this but an Adirondack writer our family really enjoys is Ed Kanze. His books “Adirondack – Life and Wildlife in the Wild East” and “Over the Mountain and Home Again” are our favorites.

  6. Charlie S says:

    Most of the Adirondack literature is interesting. I like it all. Phillip Terrie’s book “Seeing the Forest” is a good read in it’s handsome hardbound format with a dj. I’ve got it all just about, going back to some of Verplanck Colvin’s Topographical Survey’s (I have the 1873 & 79 Reports.) These reports are chock full of Colvin’s journal entries which he incorporated into the reports. Very interesting stories from Colvin. It’s always good to have the “Adirondack Reader” books around too for those rainy or snowy days when you just want to ‘feel’ the Adirondacks.

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