Wandering Home: A Long Walk Across America's Most Hopeful Landscape - Vermont's Champlain Valley and New York's Adirondacks

Wandering Home: A Long Walk Across America's Most Hopeful Landscape - Vermont's Champlain Valley and New York's Adirondacks

by Bill McKibben
     
 

The acclaimed author of The End of Nature takes a three-week walk from his current home in Vermont to his former home in the Adirondacks and reflects on the deep hope he finds in the two landscapes.

Bill McKibben begins his journey atop Vermont’s Mt. Abraham, with a stunning view to the west that introduces us to the broad Champlain Valley of Vermont,

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Overview

The acclaimed author of The End of Nature takes a three-week walk from his current home in Vermont to his former home in the Adirondacks and reflects on the deep hope he finds in the two landscapes.

Bill McKibben begins his journey atop Vermont’s Mt. Abraham, with a stunning view to the west that introduces us to the broad Champlain Valley of Vermont, the expanse of Lake Champlain, and behind it the towering wall of the Adirondacks. “In my experience,” McKibben tells us, “the world contains no finer blend of soil and rock and water and forest than that found in this scene laid out before me—a few just as fine, perhaps, but none finer. And no place where the essential human skills—cooperation, husbandry, restraint—offer more possibility for competent and graceful inhabitation, for working out the answers that the planet is posing in this age of ecological pinch and social fray.”

The region he traverses offers a fine contrast between diverse forms of human habitation and pure wilderness. On the Vermont side, he visits with old friends who are trying to sustain traditional ways of living on the land and to invent new ones, from wineries to biodiesel. After crossing the lake in a rowboat, he backpacks south for ten days through the vast Adirondack woods. As he walks, he contemplates the questions that he first began to raise in his groundbreaking meditation on climate change, The End of Nature: What constitutes the natural? How much human intervention can a place stand before it loses its essence? What does it mean for a place to be truly wild?

Wandering Home is a wise and hopeful book that enables us to better understand these questions and our place in the natural world. It also represents some of the best nature writing McKibben has ever done.

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Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
A short, lovely chronicle of a long hike, during which McKibben (Enough, 2003, etc.) meditatively reflects on the relationship between nature and humanity. He takes as his jumping-off point a stroll from Vermont to the Adirondacks, traversing land on both sides of Lake Champlain that he knows well. "I've not been able to drag myself away from this small corner of the planet," McKibben notes, wondering whether the no-name region should be called "Adimont" or, perhaps, "the Verandacks." As he chronicles his walk, he reflects on writing, on the place of agriculture in the curricula of liberal arts colleges, on Theodore Roosevelt's summer in the Adirondacks (where Vice-President Roosevelt was hiking when President McKinley was shot, ushering in "the greatest environmental presidency of our history," in McKibben's view). Some of the most wonderful scenes occur when the author meets up with friends, who all seem to lead lives found most often in Wendell Berry novels. McKibben slips in lessons about environmental policy and science, explaining, for example, the rationales and consequences of conservationists' decision in the last decade to work with people who have traditionally used the land they are hoping to conserve. His prose is so seductive, however, that readers will barely notice they are being instructed. In some ways, this is the most personal of McKibben's books thus far. He has invited readers into the place that has inspired his life's work of writing, politicking, and environmental activism-not the Amazon rain forest or a melting Arctic glacier, but the Adirondacks, which "even the New York State constitution" can't protect from acid rain or global warming. Yet Wandering Home isintimate without being confined: McKibben roams far, far beyond the Verandacks, beyond even the topic of the environmentalism, to touch on community, local economy, simplicity. Nature writing at its best. Agent: Gloria Loomis/Watkins Loomis

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780609610732
Publisher:
Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/12/2005
Series:
Crown Journeys Series
Pages:
160
Product dimensions:
5.31(w) x 7.87(h) x 0.75(d)

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