Third Edition: The Adirondack Reader


Edited By: Paul Jamieson with Neal Burdick

The Adirondack Reader was first published in 1964 and was promptly hailed as one of the most important books about the region in the post-World War II period. In the 45 years since its publication, much has changed in the Adirondacks, and much has stayed the same.

In this third edition, Paul Jamieson, ably assisted by Neal Burdick, has melded many of the original book’s finest pieces with more contemporary reflections on changing attitudes toward wilderness and development. Jamieson wrote that, “Adirondack literature is an unparalleled mirror of the relations of Americans to the woods. As William James entitled one of his books The Varieties of Religious Experiences, so might the Reader be subtitled The Varieties of Wilderness Experience or Wilderness as States of Mind.”

The four hundred years of history and adventure covered in this book carry readers onto a main trail of American life and letters: A trail peopled by Champlain as described by Parkman; Ethan Allen and Cooper’s Leatherstocking; R.L. Stevenson at Dr. Trudeau’s Saranac; Teddy Roosevelt and John Brown; the intellectuals Emerson, Lowell, and William James; the artist Winslow Homer. Eventually the trail winds to contemporary writers with vision like Bill McKibben, Elizabeth Folwell, Richard Beamish, Barbara McMartin, and Christine Jerome.

But the strictly local, and people of lesser fame, are here, too: Paul Smith and “Adirondack” Murray; woodsmen with the bark on, guides like “Old Mountain” Phelps, Rondeau the hermit, and George W. Sears (“Nessmuk”).

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