A North Country Life: Tales of Woodsmen, Waters, and Wildlife

A North Country Life: Tales of Woodsmen, Waters, and Wildlife

by Sydney Lea

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The author looks back at a lifetime’s worth of hunting, fishing, and camaraderie in the Northeast Kingdom.See more details below


The author looks back at a lifetime’s worth of hunting, fishing, and camaraderie in the Northeast Kingdom.

Editorial Reviews

Christopher Kimball
“Sydney Lea is a fisherman, a hunter, a philosopher, a trainer of bird dogs, an interpreter of the past and a collector of stories. This abundance of experience shows up to good effect. Mr. Lea… draws upon his own experiences to give texture to storytelling. He writes memorably. His stories ring true.”
From the Publisher
“Lea, Vermont’s poet laureate, has crafted a series of essays on the people and places of his rural northern environment that will appeal deeply to those who love or admire New England and can appreciate the quiet life . . . The author’s literary expertise shines through in a passage where bass fishing reminds him of an Elizabeth Bishop poem but as much as his essays are about quail and dogs and logging, Lea reaches beyond regionality to a purely American experience. There is a soulful quality to his words and a strong conviction that a connected life is one to be admired and emulated. A cross between Thoreau and David James Duncan, Lea is a northern treasure.
— Colleen Mondor, Booklist
Kirkus Reviews
Now nearing his 70th birthday, Vermont poet laureate Lea (A Hundred Himalayas: Essays on Life and Literature, 2012, etc.) meditates on the role of people and place in his life and pays tribute to the many woodsmen (and women) who were his guides and mentors. "I've always been intrigued by the blending of natural and human worlds--or rather by the dramatic illustration of that blending," writes the author in this account of a number of the salty characters, many now deceased, who played a part in his life, many of whom he has described in previously published essays. Here, their stories help him chronicle his life and share his deep love for the northern New England woodlands and his passion for hunting and fishing. He describes with gusto his epic combats as a fly fisherman when he was a "hyper-hormonal young man," and he is unapologetic about his love of hunting, which he describes as a "life-long passion." Lea disparages what he describes as "the rants of People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals," who don't understand the "sacramental" value of hunting, and he expresses great regard for the woodsmen who mentored him and accompanied him on his adventures. However, he is cleareyed in his appraisal of how much poverty and alcohol abuse were also a part of that bygone way of life. While he himself no longer traps animals, he pays tribute to the trappers who "know things about the ways of nature that our Staples-and-Domino's culture is largely unaware of." Lea is involved in an effort to create a 1 million-acre wildlife preserve on the border between Maine and New Brunswick that will be managed according to green guidelines. While his uncompromising views are--and are intended to be--provocative, the author's love of nature and his tender evocation of a way of life that is dying out have appeal.

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Product Details

Skyhorse Publishing
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
9.10(w) x 6.20(h) x 0.90(d)

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