Backwoods Genius


Julia Scully - 2012
    After his death, the contents of his studio, including thousands of glass negatives, were sold off for five dollars. For years the fragile negatives sat forgotten and deteriorating in cardboard boxes in an open carport. How did it happen, then, that the most implausible of events took place? That Disfarmer’s haunting portraits were retrieved from oblivion, that today they sell for upwards of $12,000 each at posh New York art galleries; his photographs proclaimed works of art by prestigious critics and journals and exhibited around the world? The story of Disfarmer’s rise to fame is a colorful, improbable, and ultimately fascinating one that involves an unlikely assortment of individuals. Would any of this have happened if a young New York photographer hadn't been so in love with a pretty model that he was willing to give up his career for her; if a preacher’s son from Arkansas hadn't spent 30 years in the Army Corps of Engineers mapping the U.S. from an airplane; if a magazine editor hadn't felt a strange and powerful connection to the work? The cast of characters includes these, plus a restless and wealthy young Chicago aristocrat and even a grandson of FDR. It’s a compelling story which reveals how these diverse people were part of a chain of events whose far-reaching consequences none of them could have foreseen, least of all the strange and reclusive genius of Heber Springs. Until now, the whole story has not been told.

Arctic Labyrinth: The Quest for the Northwest Passage


Glyn Williams - 2002
    While global warming has brought several such routes into existence, until recently these channels were hopelessly choked by impassible ice. Voyagers faced unimaginable horrors—entire ships crushed, mass starvation, disabling frostbite, even cannibalism—in pursuit of a futile goal. In Arctic Labyrinth, Glyn Williams charts the entire sweep of this extraordinary history, from the tiny, woefully equipped vessels of the first Tudor expeditions to the twentieth-century ventures that finally opened the Passage. Williams’s thrilling narrative delves into private letters and journals to expose the gritty reality behind the often self-serving accounts of those in charge. An important work of maritime history and exploration—and as exciting a tale of heroism and fortitude as readers will find—Arctic Labyrinth is also a remarkable study in human delusion.

Chasing Alaska: A Portrait of the Last Frontier Then and Now


C.B. Bernard - 2013
    Which is why C.B. Bernard lashed his canoe to his truck and traded the comforts of the Lower 48 for a remote island and a career as a reporter. It turned out that a distant relation had made the same trek northwest a century earlier. Captain Joe Bernard spent decades in Alaska, amassing the largest single collection of Native artifacts ever gathered, giving his name to landmarks and even a now-extinct species of wolf. C.B. chased the legacy of this explorer and hunter up the family tree, tracking his correspondence, locating artifacts donated to museums, and finding his journals at the University of Alaska at Fairbanks. Using these journals as guides, C.B. threw himself into the state once known as Seward’s Folly, boating to remote islands, hiking distant forests, hunting and fishing the pristine landscape. He began to form a landscape view of the place that had lured him and "Uncle Joe," both men anchored beneath the Northern Lights in freezing, far-flung waters, separated only by time. Here, in crisp, crystalline prose, is his moving portrait of the Last Frontier, then and now.

Very Washington DC: A Celebration of the History and Culture of America's Capital City


Diana Hollingsworth Gessler - 2009
    In eye-catching watercolors and detailed sketches, artist Diana Gessler captures the allure that makes Washington DC one of the most visited destinations in the country. In addition to the national landmarks, stirring memorials, and vibrant neighborhoods, there's the Cherry Blossom Festival, the Twilight Tattoo (a military pageant featuring the Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps and the U.S. Army Drill Team), colorful row houses, famous hotels and restaurants, and more museums than you'll be able to visit in just one trip. Gessler covers the city's most popular attractions but also heads off the beaten path to share hidden gems, like the quirky Albert Einstein Memorial and Eastern Market, where you can dine on bluebucks and browse for flea market finds. Also included are an index of sites and a useful appendix of addresses, Web sites, Metro stops, and phone numbers. Very Washington DC is a picture-perfect guidebook—a one-of-a-kind memento for tourists and a cherished reminder of the city's riches for those who have always lived in America's hometown.

Discovery of the Yosemite, and the Indian War of 1851


Lafayette Houghton Bunnell - 1977
    In the distance an immense cliff loomed, apparently to the summit of the mountains. Written by the medical officer of the Mariposa Battalion (the first group of Euro-Americans to enter the valley), Discovery of the Yosemite, and the Indian war of 1851 is perhaps the single most important original source we have that focuses on the early history of Yosemite Valley. Out of print for many years, this wonderful source chronicles key historical events surrounding the discovery of Yosemite, including the 1851 conflict with the Yosemite native population, and the naming of various landmarks. What makes this source particularly valuable and rich is the first person perspective provided by Dr Bunnel’s narrative. Lafayette Houghton Bunnell, born in 1824 in Rochester, New York, was an American author, explorer, and physician. Inspired by the males in his family, Bunnell desired adventure in ‘the West’ from a young age. He is perhaps most well-known for his involvement in the Mariposa Battalion, and is often credited as the person who named Yosemite. He was also a soldier and surgeon I the American Civil War. Albion Press is an imprint of Endeavour Press, the UK's leading independent digital publisher. For more information on our titles please sign up to our newsletter at www.endeavourpress.com. Each week you will receive updates on free and discounted ebooks. Follow us on Twitter: @EndeavourPress and on Facebook via http://on.fb.me/1HweQV7. We are always interested in hearing from our readers. Endeavour Press believes that the future is now.

Dead Reckoning: The Untold Story of the Northwest Passage


Ken McGoogan - 2017
    Dead Reckoning challenges the conventional narrative, which emerged out of Victorian England and focused almost exclusively on Royal Navy officers. By integrating non-British and fur-trade explorers and, above all, Canada’s indigenous peoples, this work brings the story of Arctic discovery into the twenty-first century.Orthodox history celebrates such naval figures as John Franklin, Edward Parry and James Clark Ross. Dead Reckoning tells their stories, but the book also encompasses such forgotten heroes as Thanadelthur, Akaitcho, Tattanoeuck, Ouligbuck, Tookoolito and Ebierbing, to name just a few. Without the assistance of the Inuit, Franklin’s recently discovered ships, Erebus and Terror, would still be lying undiscovered at the bottom of the polar sea.The book ranges from the sixteenth century to the present day, looks at climate change and the politics of the Northwest Passage, and recognizes the cultural diversity of a centuries-old quest. Informed by the author’s own voyages and researches in the Arctic, and illustrated throughout, Dead Reckoning is a colourful, multi-dimensional saga that demolishes myths, exposes pretenders and celebrates unsung heroes. For international readers, it sets out a new story of Arctic discovery. For Canadians, it brings that story home.

Boon Island: A True Story of Mutiny, Shipwreck, and Cannibalism


Andrew Vietze - 2012
    A harrowing true tale of fraud, mutiny, shipwreck, and cannibalism on the desolate rock known as Boon Island.

Jim Bridger: Mountain Man


Stanley Vestal - 1970
    He was one of the greatest explorers and pathfinders in American history. He couldn't write his name, but at eighteen he had braved the fury of the Missouri, ascending it in a keelboat flotilla commanded by that stalwart Mike Fink. By 1824, when he was only twenty, he had discovered the Great Salt Lake. Later he was to open the Overland Route, which was the path of the Overland Stage, the Pony Express, and the Union Pacific. One of the foremost trappers in the Rocky Mountain Fur Company, he was a legend in his own time as well as ours. He remains one of the most important scouts and guides in the history of the West.The Christian Science Monitor has called this biography "probably the fairest portrait of Jim Bridger in existence." The New York Times has praise for a "painstaking job of research among the usual Bridger sources and among some others which have been neglected. . . . [The author] has adequately set the scene for his hero's adventures and has honestly appraised the great guide's historical stature."Other Bison Books by Stanley Vestal: Dodge City: Queen of Cowtowns, Joe Meek: The Merry MOuntain Man; The Missouri, The Old Santa Fe Trail, and Warpath: The True Story of the Fighting Sioux Told in a Biography of Chief White Bull

Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows


Vivian Maier - 2012
    Though she created more than 10,000 negatives during her lifetime, only a few of them were ever seen by others. Shortly after her death in 2009, the first group of her unseen photographs—gritty with humanity and filled with empathy and beauty—were shown online. What followed was a firestorm of attention, catapulting Maier from previous obscurity to being labeled as one of the masters of street photography. Her work has appeared in numerous museum exhibits and a feature-length documentary on her life and art has already been planned. Features 275 black and white photos on heavy gloss paper.

A Life Wild and Perilous: Mountain Men and the Paths to the Pacific


Robert M. Utley - 1997
    Though Lewis and Clark blazed a narrow corridor of geographical reality, the West remained largely terra incognita until trappers and traders--Jim Bridger, Kit Carson, Tom Fitzpatrick, Jedediah Smith--opened paths through the snow-choked mountain wilderness. They opened the way west to Fremont and played a major role in the pivotal years of 1845-1848 when Texas was annexed, the Oregon question was decided, and the Mexican War ed with the Southwest and California in American hands, the Pacific Ocean becoming our western boundary.

The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary: A True Story of Resilience and Recovery


Andrew Westoll - 2011
    For the indomitable Gloria, caring for thirteen great apes is like presiding over a maximum security prison, a Zen sanctuary, an old folks’ home, and a New York deli during the lunchtime rush all rolled into one. But she is first and foremost creating a refuge for her troubled charges, a place where they can recover and begin to trust humans again.  Hoping to win some of this trust, the journalist Andrew Westoll spent months at Fauna Farm as a volunteer and vividly recounts his time in the chimp house and the histories of its residents. He arrives with dreams of striking up an immediate friendship with the legendary Tom, the wise face of the Great Ape Protection Act, but Tom seems all too content to ignore him. Gradually, though, old man Tommie and the rest of the “troop” begin to warm toward Westoll as he learns the routines of life at the farm and realizes just how far the chimps have come. Seemingly simple things like grooming, establishing friendships and alliances, and playing games with the garden hose are all poignant testament to the capacity of these animals to heal.  Brimming with empathy and winning stories of Gloria and her charges, The Chimps of Fauna Sanctuary is an absorbing, bighearted book that grapples with questions of just what we owe to the animals who are our nearest genetic relations.

Begin Again: A Biography of John Cage


Kenneth Silverman - 2010
    He became a central figure of the avant-garde early in his life and remained at that pinnacle until his death in 1992 at the age of eighty. Now award-winning biographer Kenneth Silverman gives us the first comprehensive life of this remarkable artist. We follow Cage from his Los Angeles childhood—his father was a successful inventor—through his stay in Paris from 1930 to 1931, where immersion in the burgeoning new musical and artistic movements triggered an explosion of creativity in him and, after his return to the States, into his studies with the seminal modern composer Arnold Schoenberg. We see Cage’s early experiments with sound and percussion instruments, and watch as he develops his signature work with prepared piano, radio static, random noise, and silence. We learn of his many friendships over the years with other composers, artists, philosophers, and writers; of his early marriage and several lovers, both female and male; and of his long relationship with choreographer Merce Cunningham, with whom he would collaborate on radically unusual dances that continue to influence the worlds of both music and dance.Drawing on interviews with Cage’s contemporaries and friends and on the enormous archive of his letters and writings, and including photographs, facsimiles of musical scores, and Web links to illustrative sections of his compositions, Silverman gives us a biography of major significance: a revelatory portrait of one of the most important cultural figures of the twentieth century.

The Invention of Clouds


Richard Hamblyn - 2001
    He immediately gained international fame, becoming a cult figure among artists and painters -- Goethe, Constable, and Coleridge revered him -- and legitimizing the science of meteorology. Part history of science, part cultural excavation, this is not only the biography of a man, but of a moment: the cultural birth of the modern scientific era.

My Father's Island: A Galapagos Quest (Pelican Press)


Johanna Angermeyer - 1990
    Like her father, she came to love the Galapagos and to dream of having a life there. Her experience was filled with the perils and incomparable pleasures of living on the Galapagos.

After the Revolution: Profiles of Early American Culture


Joseph J. Ellis - 1979
    Each life is fascinating in its own right, and each is used to brightly illuminate the historical context.