Book picks similar to
John Muir: Magnificent Tramp by Rod Miller
Where the Deer and the Antelope Play: The Pastoral Observations of One Ignorant American Who Loves to Walk Outside
Nick Offerman - 2021
The bedrock, the topsoil, and everything in between that generates the health of your local watershed. In his new book, Nick takes a humorous, inspiring, and elucidating trip to America's trails, farms, and frontier to celebrate the people, landscape, and stories, both historical and fresh, that have made it great.The seeds of this book were planted in 2019, when Nick took two memorable journeys with friends--a hiking trip to Glacier National Park with his friends Jeff Tweedy and George Saunders, as well as an extended visit to his friend James Rebanks, the author of A Shepherd's Life and English Pastoral. He followed that up with an excursion that could only have come about in 2020--Nick and his wife, Megan Mullally, bought an Airstream trailer to drive across the US in late 2020. All three journeys inspired some "deep-ish thinking from Nick, about the history and philosophy of our relationship with nature in our national parks, in our farming, and in our wildlife; what we mean when we talk about conservation; the importance of outdoor recreation; and the healthy building of both local and national communities across party lines, all subjects very close to Nick's heart.With witty, heartwarming stories, and a keen insight into the problems we all confront, this is both a ramble through and celebration of the land we all love.
The Wild Truth: A Memoir
Carine McCandless - 2014
Krakauer's book, Into the Wild, became an international bestseller, translated into thirty-one languages, and Sean Penn's inspirational film by the same name further skyrocketed Chris McCandless to global fame. But the real story of Chris's life and his journey has not yet been told—until now. The missing pieces are finally revealed in The Wild Truth, written by Carine McCandless, Chris's beloved and trusted sister. Featured in both the book and film, Carine has wrestled for more than twenty years with the legacy of her brother's journey to self-discovery, and now tells her own story while filling in the blanks of his. Carine was Chris's best friend, the person with whom he had the closest bond, and who witnessed firsthand the dysfunctional and violent family dynamic that made Chris willing to embrace the harsh wilderness of Alaska. Growing up in the same troubled household, Carine speaks candidly about the deeper reality of life in the McCandless family. In the many years since the tragedy of Chris's death, Carine has searched for some kind of redemption. In this touching and deeply personal memoir, she reveals how she has learned that real redemption can only come from speaking the truth.
Sisters First: Stories from Our Wild and Wonderful Life
Jenna Bush Hager - 2017
As small children, they watched their grandfather become president; just twelve years later they stood by their father's side when he took the same oath. They spent their college years being trailed by the Secret Service and chased by the paparazzi, with every teenage mistake making national headlines. But the tabloids didn't tell the whole story of these two young women forging their own identities under extraordinary circumstances. In this book they take readers on a revealing, thoughtful, and deeply personal tour behind the scenes of their lives, with never-before-told stories about their family, their adventures, their loves and losses, and the special sisterly bond that fulfills them.
Come Fly the World: The Jet-Age Story of the Women of Pan Am
Julia Cooke - 2021
Julia Cooke’s intimate storytelling weaves together the real-life stories of a memorable cast of characters, from Lynne Totten, a science major who decided life in a lab was not for her, to Hazel Bowie, one of the relatively few black stewardesses of the era, as they embraced the liberation of their new jet-set life. Cooke brings to life the story of Pan Am stewardesses’ role in the Vietnam War, as the airline added runs from Saigon to Hong Kong for planeloads of weary young soldiers straight from the battlefields, who were off for five days of R&R, and then flown back to war. Finally, with Operation Babylift—the dramatic evacuation of 2,000 children during the fall of Saigon—the book’s special cast of stewardesses unites to play an extraordinary role on the world stage.
Girl in the Woods: A Memoir
Aspen Matis - 2015
On her second night of college, Aspen was raped by a fellow student. Overprotected by her parents who discouraged her from telling of the attack, Aspen was confused and ashamed. Dealing with a problem that has sadly become all too common on college campuses around the country, she stumbled through her first semester—a challenging time made even harder by the coldness of her college's "conflict mediation" process. Her desperation growing, she made a bold decision: She would seek healing in the freedom of the wild, on the 2,650-mile Pacific Crest Trail leading from Mexico to Canada.In this inspiring memoir, Aspen chronicles her journey, a five-month trek that was ambitious, dangerous, and transformative. A nineteen-year-old girl alone and lost, she conquered desolate mountain passes and met rattlesnakes, bears, and fellow desert pilgrims. Exhausted after each thirty-mile day, at times on the verge of starvation, Aspen was forced to confront her numbness, coming to terms with the sexual assault and her parents' disappointing reaction. On the trail and on her own, she found that survival is predicated on persistent self-reliance. She found her strength. After a thousand miles of solitude, she found a man who helped her learn to love and trust again—and heal.Told with elegance and suspense, Girl in the Woods is a beautifully rendered story of eroding emotional and physical boundaries to reveal the truths that lie beyond the edges of the map.
Dear Bob and Sue
Matt Smith - 2012
National Parks. Written as a series of emails to their friends, Bob and Sue, they describe their sense of awe in exploring our national parks, and share humorous and quirky observations. The national parks are among the most stunning places in America - pristine wilderness, geologic wonders, and magnificent wildlife - places everyone should put on their must-see-before-I-die list. Matt and Karen take you along as they visit them all. Unlike a traditional guidebook, this is one couple's perspective on the joys and challenges of traveling together. This is a story of discovery and adventure: chased by a grizzly, pushed off the trail by big horn sheep, they even survived a mid-air plane collision. Dear Bob and Sue is the next best thing to visiting all the parks in person.Note: Dear Bob and Sue was previously published as two separate volumes. This version contains all the content from those first two volumes plus additional stories from the final parks Matt and Karen visited.
A Passion for Nature: The Life of John Muir
Donald Worster - 2008
A Passion for Nature is the most complete account of the great conservationist and founder of the Sierra Club ever written. It is the first to be based on Muir's full private correspondence and to meet modern scholarly standards. Yet it is also full of rich detail and personal anecdote, uncovering the complex inner life behind the legend of the solitary mountain man. It traces Muir from his boyhood in Scotland and frontier Wisconsin to his adult life in California right after the Civil War up to his death on the eve of World War I. It explores his marriage and family life, his relationship with his abusive father, his many friendships with the humble and famous (including Theodore Roosevelt and Ralph Waldo Emerson), and his role in founding the modern American conservation movement. Inspired by Muir's passion for the wilderness, Americans created a long and stunning list of national parks and wilderness areas, Yosemite most prominent among them. Yet the book also describes a Muir who was a successful fruit-grower, a talented scientist and world-traveler, a doting father and husband, a self-made man of wealth and political influence. A man for whom mountaineering was "a pathway to revelation and worship."For anyone wishing to more fully understand America's first great environmentalist, and the enormous influence he still exerts today, Donald Worster's biography offers a wealth of insight into the passionate nature of a man whose passion for nature remains unsurpassed.
Leave Only Footprints: My Acadia-to-Zion Journey Through Every National Park
Conor Knighton - 2020
But, after a broken engagement and a broken heart, he desperately needed a change of scenery. The ambitious plan he cooked up went a bit overboard in that department; Knighton set out to visit every single one of America's National Parks, from Acadia to Zion. Leave Only Footprints is the memoir of his year spent traveling across the United States, a journey that yielded his "On the Trail" series, which quickly became one of CBS Sunday Morning's most beloved segments. In this smart, informative, and often hilarious book, he'll share how his journey through these natural wonders, unchanged by man, ended up changing his worldview on everything from God to politics to love and technology. Whether it's waking up early for a naked scrub in an Arkansas bathhouse or staying up late to stargaze along our loneliest highway, Knighton goes behind the scenery to provide an unfiltered look at America. In the tradition of books like A Walk in the Woods or Turn Right at Machu Picchu, this is an irresistible mix of personal narrative and travelogue-some well-placed pop culture references, too-and a must-read for any of the 331 million yearly National Parks visitors.
The Lost City of Z: A Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon
David Grann - 2009
A sensational disappearance that made headlines around the world. A quest for truth that leads to death, madness or disappearance for those who seek to solve it. The Lost City of Z is a blockbuster adventure narrative about what lies beneath the impenetrable jungle canopy of the Amazon.After stumbling upon a hidden trove of diaries, New Yorker writer David Grann set out to solve "the greatest exploration mystery of the 20th century": What happened to the British explorer Percy Fawcett & his quest for the Lost City of Z?In 1925, Fawcett ventured into the Amazon to find an ancient civilization, hoping to make one of the most important discoveries in history. For centuries Europeans believed the world's largest jungle concealed the glittering kingdom of El Dorado. Thousands had died looking for it, leaving many scientists convinced that the Amazon was truly inimical to humans. But Fawcett, whose daring expeditions inspired Conan Doyle's The Lost World, had spent years building his scientific case. Captivating the imagination of millions round the globe, Fawcett embarked with his 21-year-old son, determined to prove that this ancient civilisation--which he dubbed Z--existed. Then his expedition vanished. Fawcett's fate, & the tantalizing clues he left behind about Z, became an obsession for hundreds who followed him into the uncharted wilderness. For decades scientists & adventurers have searched for evidence of Fawcett's party & the lost City of Z. Countless have perished, been captured by tribes or gone mad. As Grann delved ever deeper into the mystery surrounding Fawcett's quest, & the greater mystery of what lies within the Amazon, he found himself, like the generations who preceded him, being irresistibly drawn into the jungle's green hell. His quest for the truth & discoveries about Fawcett's fate & Z form the heart of this complexly enthralling narrative.
The River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey
Candice Millard - 2005
Indians armed with poison-tipped arrows haunt its shadows; piranhas glide through its waters; boulder-strewn rapids turn the river into a roiling cauldron.After his humiliating election defeat in 1912, Roosevelt set his sights on the most punishing physical challenge he could find, the first descent of an unmapped, rapids-choked tributary of the Amazon. Together with his son Kermit and Brazil’s most famous explorer, Cândido Mariano da Silva Rondon, Roosevelt accomplished a feat so great that many at the time refused to believe it. In the process, he changed the map of the western hemisphere forever.Along the way, Roosevelt and his men faced an unbelievable series of hardships, losing their canoes and supplies to punishing whitewater rapids, and enduring starvation, Indian attack, disease, drowning, and a murder within their own ranks. Three men died, and Roosevelt was brought to the brink of suicide. The River of Doubt brings alive these extraordinary events in a powerful nonfiction narrative thriller that happens to feature one of the most famous Americans who ever lived.From the soaring beauty of the Amazon rain forest to the darkest night of Theodore Roosevelt’s life, here is Candice Millard’s dazzling debut.
Grandma Gatewood's Walk: The Inspiring Story of the Woman Who Saved the Appalachian Trail
Ben Montgomery - 2014
The next anybody heard from her, this genteel, farm-reared, 67-year-old great-grandmother had walked 800 miles along the 2,050-mile Appalachian Trail. And in September 1955, having survived a rattlesnake strike, two hurricanes, and a run-in with gangsters from Harlem, she stood atop Maine’s Mount Katahdin. There she sang the first verse of “America, the Beautiful” and proclaimed, “I said I’ll do it, and I’ve done it.”Grandma Gatewood, as the reporters called her, became the first woman to hike the entire Appalachian Trail alone, as well as the first person—man or woman—to walk it twice and three times. Gatewood became a hiking celebrity and appeared on TV and in the pages of Sports Illustrated. The public attention she brought to the little-known footpath was unprecedented. Her vocal criticism of the lousy, difficult stretches led to bolstered maintenance, and very likely saved the trail from extinction.Author Ben Montgomery was given unprecedented access to Gatewood’s own diaries, trail journals, and correspondence, and interviewed surviving family members and those she met along her hike, all to answer the question so many asked: Why did she do it? The story of Grandma Gatewood will inspire readers of all ages by illustrating the full power of human spirit and determination. Even those who know of Gatewood don’t know the full story—a story of triumph from pain, rebellion from brutality, hope from suffering.
The Last Season
Eric Blehm - 2006
Blehm narrates this true account of the disappearance and search for Randy Morgenson, a National Park Service ranger who, one morning after 28 seasons on the job, failed to answer his radio call.The introverted Morgenson was more comfortable with the natural world than with people. A gifted photographer and a lyrical writer, he dropped out of college to begin a career that would send him into the remote parts of California's Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Passionate about the mountains, he excelled at his responsibilities, which ranged from clearing away garbage left by careless campers to rescuing injured hikers. Dedicated to keeping the wilderness undisturbed, he was proud of his ability to leave no trace of himself wherever he camped.That skill would prove costly when, at age 54, he went missing. Blehm seamlessly combines a detective story with a celebration of nature that calls to mind the works of classic American writers like Thoreau and Emerson. His gripping narrative will cause readers' hearts to ache at the disappearance of this undervalued soul. But their spirits will soar at the grandeur and mysticism of nature expertly captured in its most primal state.
The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family, and Defiance During the Blitz
Erik Larson - 2020
Poland and Czechoslovakia had already fallen, and the Dunkirk evacuation was just two weeks away. For the next twelve months, Hitler would wage a relentless bombing campaign, killing 45,000 Britons. It was up to Churchill to hold his country together and persuade President Franklin Roosevelt that Britain was a worthy ally--and willing to fight to the end.In The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson shows how Churchill taught the British people "the art of being fearless." It is a story of political brinkmanship, but it's also an intimate domestic drama, set against the backdrop of Churchill's prime-ministerial country home, Chequers; his wartime retreat, Ditchley, where he and his entourage go when the moon is brightest and the bombing threat is highest; and of course 10 Downing Street in London. Drawing on diaries, original archival documents, and once-secret intelligence reports--some released only recently--Larson provides a new lens on London's darkest year through the day-to-day experience of Churchill and his family: his wife, Clementine; their youngest daughter, Mary, who chafes against her parents' wartime protectiveness; their son, Randolph, and his beautiful, unhappy wife, Pamela; Pamela's illicit lover, a dashing American emissary; and the advisers in Churchill's "Secret Circle," to whom he turns in the hardest moments.
Dirt: Adventures, with Family, in the Kitchens of Lyon, Looking for the Origins of French Cooking
Bill Buford - 2020
Baffled by the language, but convinced that he can master the art of French cooking--or at least get to the bottom of why it is so revered-- he begins what becomes a five-year odyssey by shadowing the esteemed French chef Michel Richard, in Washington, D.C. But when Buford (quickly) realizes that a stage in France is necessary, he goes--this time with his wife and three-year-old twin sons in tow--to Lyon, the gastronomic capital of France. Studying at L'Institut Bocuse, cooking at the storied, Michelin-starred La Mère Brazier, enduring the endless hours and exacting rigeur of the kitchen, Buford becomes a man obsessed--with proving himself on the line, proving that he is worthy of the gastronomic secrets he's learning, proving that French cooking actually derives from (mon dieu!) the Italian.
Braving It: A Father, a Daughter, and an Unforgettable Journey Into the Alaskan Wild
James Campbell - 2016
So when James Campbell's cousin Heimo Korth asked him to spend a summer building a cabin in the rugged Interior, Campbell hesitated about inviting his fifteen-year-old daughter, Aidan, to join him: Would she be able to withstand clouds of mosquitoes, the threat of grizzlies, bathing in an ice-cold river, and hours of grueling labor peeling and hauling logs?But once there, Aidan embraced the wild. She even agreed to return a few months later to help the Korths work their traplines and hunt for caribou and moose. Despite windchills of 50 degrees below zero, father and daughter ventured out daily to track, hunt, and trap. Under the supervision of Edna, Heimo's Yupik Eskimo wife, Aidan grew more confident in the woods.Campbell knew that in traditional Eskimo cultures, some daughters earned a rite of passage usually reserved for young men. So he decided to take Aidan back to Alaska one final time before she left home. It would be their third and most ambitious trip, backpacking over Alaska's Brooks Range to the headwaters of the mighty Hulahula River, where they would assemble a folding canoe and paddle to the Arctic Ocean. The journey would test them, and their relationship, in one of the planet's most remote places: a land of wolves, musk oxen, Dall sheep, golden eagles, and polar bears.At turns poignant and humorous, Braving It is an ode to America's disappearing wilderness and a profound meditation on what it means for a child to grow up--and a parent to finally, fully let go.