I was drawn to this book on a couple of different levels. First was the three authors listed … John Muir is a name I know from my interest in our National Parks and my time spent in Muir Woods and Yosemite National Park; Aldo Leopold, whose Sand County Almanac is still an environmentalists bible; and August Derleth – an author with whom I am familiar primarily because of his work writing dark fantasy/horror stories and his friendship with noted horror author, H.P. Lovecraft, but who also wrote a great deal of historical fiction and non-fiction nature books about the region of Wisconsin in which he lived.
I was also drawn to this book because of its environmental nature and because of the region – Wisconsin – while not my home, a neighbor where I have spent a bit of time.
Robert Root is an author of several books, though I am not familiar with any of his other titles. His motivation for the book is that he had recently moved to a small town in Southeastern Wisconsin and he wanted to get to know his new home and chose to explore the areas previously walked by some famous authors before him.
I’m not quite sure what to make of the book itself. It’s not quite a book of reflections … thoughts while spending time in the outdoors … such as we might have had with Sigurd F. Olson books. It is not quite a natural or environmental survey of specific parts of Wisconsin. It is not quite a biography of three writers or an autobiography of one. It is not quite a prose or poetic map of geologic regions. And it is all of these things at the same time.
I can’t say that I learned a lot here, but I enjoyed the relaxing pace that Root delivers. He walks the home ground today and waxes about what the area looked like in the past, based on Muir’s, Leopold’s, and Derleth’s writings. It is an interesting way of reminiscing while reflecting on loss and and the environmental impact of today.
I wouldn’t go out of my way to make sure to read this book, but should you pick it up and it looks interesting to you, then definitely give it a read.
Looking for a good book? Walking Home Ground by Robert Root is a unique mix of environmental, natural, and historical reflection in the modern area. Most interesting is getting to know the ‘home grounds’ of three popular, literary individuals.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Edelweiss, in exchange for an honest review.
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Walking Home Ground: In the Footsteps of Muir, Leopold, and Derleth
author: Robert Root
publisher: Wisconsin Historical Society Press
paperback, 224 pages