The Windward Shore: A Winter on the Great Lakes

University of Michigan Press
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"Our country is lucky to have Jerry Dennis. A conservationist with the soul of a poet whose beat is Wild Michigan, Dennis is a kindred spirit of Aldo Leopold and Sigurd Olson. The Windward Shore---his newest effort---is a beautifully written and elegiac memoir of outdoor discovery. Highly recommended!"
---Douglas Brinkley, author of The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America

"Come for a journey; stay for an awakening. Jerry Dennis loves the Great Lakes, the swell of every wave, the curve of every rock. He wants you to love them too before our collective trashing of them wipes out all traces of their original character. Through his eyes, you will treasure the hidden secrets that reveal themselves only to those who linger and long. Elegant and sad at the same time, The Windward Shore is a love song for the Great Lakes and a gentle call to action to save them."
---Maude Barlow, author of Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water

"In prose as clear as the lines in a Dürer etching, Jerry Dennis maps his home ground, which ranges outward from the back door of his farmhouse to encompass the region of vast inland seas at the heart of our continent. Along the way, inspired by the company of water in all its guises---ice, snow, frost, clouds, rain, shore-lapping waves---he meditates on the ancient questions about mind and matter, time and attention, wildness and wonder. As in the best American nature writing---a tradition that Dennis knows well---here the place and the explorer come together in brilliant conversation."
---Scott Russell Sanders, author of A Conservationist Manifesto

If you have been enchanted by Jerry Dennis’s earlier work on sailing the Great Lakes, canoeing, angling, and the natural wonders of water and sky—or you have not yet been lucky enough to enjoy his engaging prose—you will want to immerse yourself in his powerful and insightful new book on winter in Great Lakes country.

Grounded by a knee injury, Dennis learns to live at a slower pace while staying in houses ranging from a log cabin on Lake Superior’s Keweenaw Peninsula to a $20 million mansion on the northern shore of Lake Michigan. While walking on beaches and exploring nearby woods and villages, he muses on the nature of time, weather, waves, agates, books, words for snow and ice, our complex relationship with nature, and much more.

From the introduction: “I wanted to present a true picture of a complex region, part of my continuing project to learn at least one place on earth reasonably well, and trusted that it would appear gradually and accumulatively—and not as a conventional portrait, but as a mosaic that included the sounds and scents and textures of the place and some of the plants, animals, and its inhabitants. Bolstered by the notion that a book is a journey that author and reader walk together, I would search for promising trails and follow them as far as my reconstructed knee would allow.”

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About the author

Jerry Dennis is the author of many literary and popular works about nature, science, and outdoor recreation. His essays and stories in The New York Times, Smithsonian, Audubon, National Geographic Traveler, Gray’s Sporting Journal, and many other publications have won numerous awards and are frequently anthologized. His books are widely acclaimed and have been translated into German, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, and Czech. In 1999 the Michigan Library Association named Dennis the Michigan Author of the Year. He and his wife, Gail, live near the shore of Lake Michigan not far from Traverse City.

www.jerrydennis.net

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Additional Information

Publisher
University of Michigan Press
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Published on
Oct 7, 2011
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Pages
168
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ISBN
9780472028252
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Personal Memoirs
Nature / Essays
Nature / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM free.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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In this remarkable collection of essays and stories, winner of the Best Book of the Year Award from the Outdoor Writers Association of America, Jerry Dennis demonstrates why he has emerged as one of America's finest writers on nature and the outdoors. In prose that has drawn comparisons with John Voelker, Sigurd Olson, and Aldo Leopold, Dennis celebrates the simple pleasures and complex challenges of family life, the allure of giant trout, the sacredness of secret places, and such wonders as bad weather, quirky fishing companions, and the occasional naked angler. Ranging from northern Michigan to Iceland, Chile, and the fabled rivers of the American West, The River Home is a passionate record of a life lived fully, crafted with clarity, insight, and good humor—by a writer gifted with an instinct for what matters. 

PRAISE:

"This bright and sharply written book is a guide to a life lived consciously, a prerequisite and bonus of the sport done well." —Lisa Faye Kaplan, USA Today

“Collections of essays about the outdoors and fishing crowd the shelves, but Dennis’s fresh writing and marvelous insights merit special attention. This fine collection will appeal to fans of Hal Borland, W.D. Wetherell, and Nick Lyons, as well as to those who enjoy the essays of fiction writers William Tapply and Thomas McGuane.” —Booklist

“Even if you’ve never pulled on a pair of waders, you should read this funny and wise book about fly fishing – and a lot more.” —Georgia Times-Union

“In this book, Dennis elevates the typical ‘outdoor’ essay, usually a mere recollection of adventures while hunting, fishing, camping, canoeing, or pursuing other outdoor activities. He has transcended the typical by blending in elements of ‘nature’ writing: observation, research, speculation about the world in which the sportsman places himself.” —The Oakland Press

In these acclaimed essays, Jerry Dennis, widely recognized as one of our finest writers on nature and the outdoors, turns his attention to old passions and finds new reasons to appreciate them. This engaging collection explores the quintessential American sports of canoeing and camping and pays tribute to the things worth keeping, from wooden canoes and pocket knives to cast-iron skillets, long-johns, canvas tents, and fine moments on the water. At a deeper level, it is about respect—for our possessions, for the natural world, for one another—and about the pleasures of a life well spent.

From a Wooden Canoe is a celebration of the good things and the simple pleasures of life outdoors. It is a book to be treasured, to be read on winter evenings and rainy afternoons, and to be kept handy on a cabin shelf.

PRAISE:
“Jerry Dennis knows the good stuff: How to make your matches waterproof; why it’s good to have a Thermos handy; and how long johns got their name. Mr. Dennis also knows how to write amusing, informative essays about the gear we use outdoors. From a Wooden Canoe is the most satisfying kind of nature writing because it makes you want to get up and get out. Give these essays a good read, and then find your own canoe.” —Wall Street Journal

“As Jerry Dennis’s recent book, From a Wooden Canoe, attests, canoes do inspire passion and fidelity. The thirty-one pieces here—most of them from the pages of Canoe and Kayak magazine—include tender odes to hand-hewn wooden paddlers and the rough work of portaging, as well as reflections on other old-school outdoor stuff: homemade waterproof matches, the smell of canvas, and the mysterious, indestructible thermos.” —The New Yorker

“Dennis writes concise, well-informed, witty prose; his tone is friendly and appreciative of tradition without being maudlin. The celebratory tone of most of the essays is nicely tempered by a send-up of curmudgeons and a concluding essay that might have come from O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night. Recommend this fine example of literary outdoors writing to fans of Bill Barich and W.D. Wetherell.” —Booklist
In these acclaimed essays, Jerry Dennis, widely recognized as one of our finest writers on nature and the outdoors, turns his attention to old passions and finds new reasons to appreciate them. This engaging collection explores the quintessential American sports of canoeing and camping and pays tribute to the things worth keeping, from wooden canoes and pocket knives to cast-iron skillets, long-johns, canvas tents, and fine moments on the water. At a deeper level, it is about respect—for our possessions, for the natural world, for one another—and about the pleasures of a life well spent.

From a Wooden Canoe is a celebration of the good things and the simple pleasures of life outdoors. It is a book to be treasured, to be read on winter evenings and rainy afternoons, and to be kept handy on a cabin shelf.

PRAISE:
“Jerry Dennis knows the good stuff: How to make your matches waterproof; why it’s good to have a Thermos handy; and how long johns got their name. Mr. Dennis also knows how to write amusing, informative essays about the gear we use outdoors. From a Wooden Canoe is the most satisfying kind of nature writing because it makes you want to get up and get out. Give these essays a good read, and then find your own canoe.” —Wall Street Journal

“As Jerry Dennis’s recent book, From a Wooden Canoe, attests, canoes do inspire passion and fidelity. The thirty-one pieces here—most of them from the pages of Canoe and Kayak magazine—include tender odes to hand-hewn wooden paddlers and the rough work of portaging, as well as reflections on other old-school outdoor stuff: homemade waterproof matches, the smell of canvas, and the mysterious, indestructible thermos.” —The New Yorker

“Dennis writes concise, well-informed, witty prose; his tone is friendly and appreciative of tradition without being maudlin. The celebratory tone of most of the essays is nicely tempered by a send-up of curmudgeons and a concluding essay that might have come from O’Neill’s Long Day’s Journey into Night. Recommend this fine example of literary outdoors writing to fans of Bill Barich and W.D. Wetherell.” —Booklist
Animals are everywhere in our lives. We follow them into the wild, we invite them into our homes, they inhabit our dreams, mythologies, folklores, and popular cultures. What is this powerful bond? Why are we so fascinated with animals of every kind? And why has our relationship with them always been riddled with such complexity and contradiction?

A Walk in the Animal Kingdom explores the world of animals with the inquisitiveness, depth, and gentle humor that readers across the globe have come to expect from the acclaimed author-artist team of Jerry Dennis and Glenn Wolff. The book is an inquiry into animals of the world, their astonishing diversity and abundance; their mating habits, defensive strategies, and other behaviors; their extraordinary senses of sight, hearing, and smell. It is also an exploration of our profound connection with them, from the joys they inspire and the fears they arouse, to their prominence in our lives as pets, team mascots, and embodiments of wild nature—and the paradox that allows us to battle to protect certain species while ignoring others that are disappearing at a rate perhaps unequaled in the history of our planet.

Like the previous collaborations of Dennis and Wolff, A Walk in the Animal Kingdom is certain to become a classic among books about nature—its wonders, its complexities, and our place in it.

PRAISE:
“This writer-artist team shines a bright and lovely light on nature.” —Los Angeles Times
“Charming...informative...humorous...This wonderfully illustrated book will make heroes of parents and teachers, who will be able to explain nature's magic and the superstitions surrounding it." —El Paso Times
"Vastly entertaining, valuable... Makes natural history so much fun the reader is sucked from paragraph to paragraph, page to page, chapter to chapter.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch
“A perfect choice for adults and kids alike who want to discover more about how the world is put together... entertaining and fact-filled.” —Houston Post
“As leaves fall and the sky becomes more noticeable, you’re likely to look towards the heavens and wonder at their mysteries...Author Jerry Dennis and illustrator Glenn Wolff address the questions with intelligence, wit and artistry.” —Atlanta Constitution
"A delightful book, both readable and informative—like the best of Hal Borland and Edwin Way Teale...You've many hours of pleasure waiting with It's Raining Frogs and Fishes." —Richmond Times-Dispatch
"With text that mesmerizes, drawings that enchant...this book calls you to hold it open before you." —The Oakland Press
"This delightful look at nature... reminds adults—especially in this hectic, fast-paced, just-do-it world—that it is more than OK, it is desirable, to be child-like and to look up at the heavens and ask why." —Toledo Blade
“This is a perfect choice for adults and kids alike who want to discover more about how the world is put together. Dennis has done a good job of entertaining and informing at the same time, and Glenn Wolff's illustrations gracefully supplement the fact-filled text. It's enjoyable reading and a good reference for anyone's library." —Sacramento Bee
"Dennis has a knack for being at once scholarly and readable, which makes this book both instructive and enjoyable. You can't ask for much more than that...It's Raining Frogs and Fishes is a book no home should be without." —Binghamton (NY) Press and Sun-Bulletin
“Dennis, who writes “The Natural Enquirer” for Wildlife Conservation magazine, is a consummate researcher and gifted storyteller. Wolff’s drawings are first rate...Must reading for the naturally curious of all ages, and it belongs in every school library.” —Michigan Out-of-Doors
“Jerry Dennis is one of today’s most readable and informative nature essayists, and his latest book, The Bird in the Waterfall, is a marvelous look at the natural history of oceans, rivers, and lakes. It ought to be required reading for anyone who loves the outdoors, angling, surfing, beachcombing, or birding.” —Buffalo News
“Jerry Dennis’s clear-eyed essays surpass mere explanation of facts; he conveys the rare gift of understanding the workings of nature, along with passion for its beauties and terrors. His prose is admirably paced with Glenn Wolff’s artistic microcosms.” —Arts Borealis
“With melodic prose and luminous drawings, Jerry Dennis and Glenn Wolff tear the curtain from the sky we all share, revealing the inner workings...Keep this book handy for times when life grows a bit too predictable. It's giddy, it's reverent, and it's guaranteed to get your heart beating with wonder again." —Janine Benyus, author of Beastly Behaviors
Award-winning nature author Jerry Dennis reveals the splendor and beauty of North America’s Great Lakes in this “masterwork”* history and memoir of the essential environmental and economical region shared by the United States and Canada.

No bodies of water compare to the Great Lakes. Superior is the largest lake on earth, and together all five contain a fifth of the world’s supply of standing fresh water. Their ten thousand miles of shoreline border eight states and a Canadian province and are longer than the entire Atlantic and Pacific coasts of the United States. Their surface area of 95,000 square miles is greater than New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Vermont, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island combined. People who have never visited them—who have never seen a squall roar across Superior or the horizon stretch unbroken across Michigan or Huron—have no idea how big they are. They are so vast that they dominate much of the geography, climate, and history of North America, affecting the lives of tens of millions of people.

The Living Great Lakes: Searching for the Heart of the Inland Seas is the definitive book about the history, nature, and science of these remarkable lakes at the heart of North America. From the geological forces that formed them and the industrial atrocities that nearly destroyed them, to the greatest environmental success stories of our time, Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario are portrayed in all their complexity.

A Michigan native, Jerry Dennis also shares his memories of a lifetime on or near the lakes, including a six-week voyage as a crewmember on a tallmasted schooner. On his travels, he collected more stories of the lakes through the eyes of biologists, fishermen, sailors, and others he befriended while hiking the area’s beaches and islands.

Through storms and fog, on remote shores and city waterfronts, Dennis explores the five Great Lakes in all seasons and moods and discovers that they and their connecting waters—including the Erie Canal, the Hudson River, and the East Coast from New York to Maine—offer a surprising and bountiful view of America. The result is a meditation on nature and our place in the world, a discussion and cautionary tale about the future of water resources, and a celebration of a place that is both fragile and robust, diverse, rich in history and wildlife, often misunderstood, and worthy of our attention.

“This is history at its best and adventure richly described.”—*Doug Stanton, author of In Harm’s Way: The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors and 12 Strong: The Declassified True Story of the Horse Soldiers

Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award Winner
Winner of Best Book of 2003 by the Outdoor Writers Association of America

In this remarkable collection of essays and stories, winner of the Best Book of the Year Award from the Outdoor Writers Association of America, Jerry Dennis demonstrates why he has emerged as one of America's finest writers on nature and the outdoors. In prose that has drawn comparisons with John Voelker, Sigurd Olson, and Aldo Leopold, Dennis celebrates the simple pleasures and complex challenges of family life, the allure of giant trout, the sacredness of secret places, and such wonders as bad weather, quirky fishing companions, and the occasional naked angler. Ranging from northern Michigan to Iceland, Chile, and the fabled rivers of the American West, The River Home is a passionate record of a life lived fully, crafted with clarity, insight, and good humor—by a writer gifted with an instinct for what matters. 

PRAISE:

"This bright and sharply written book is a guide to a life lived consciously, a prerequisite and bonus of the sport done well." —Lisa Faye Kaplan, USA Today

“Collections of essays about the outdoors and fishing crowd the shelves, but Dennis’s fresh writing and marvelous insights merit special attention. This fine collection will appeal to fans of Hal Borland, W.D. Wetherell, and Nick Lyons, as well as to those who enjoy the essays of fiction writers William Tapply and Thomas McGuane.” —Booklist

“Even if you’ve never pulled on a pair of waders, you should read this funny and wise book about fly fishing – and a lot more.” —Georgia Times-Union

“In this book, Dennis elevates the typical ‘outdoor’ essay, usually a mere recollection of adventures while hunting, fishing, camping, canoeing, or pursuing other outdoor activities. He has transcended the typical by blending in elements of ‘nature’ writing: observation, research, speculation about the world in which the sportsman places himself.” —The Oakland Press

It's Raining Frogs and Fishes is a generously illustrated inquiry into wonders of the sky: Why is the sky blue? Where do meteors originate? What causes rainbows, mirages, and the colors of the sunset? Why do some birds and insects migrate, and how do they navigate over hundreds or thousands of miles to do it? How have civilizations throughout history viewed the aurora borealis, tornadoes, eclipses, and the bizarre but well documented cases of fish, reptiles, snails, and even snakes that have rained to earth? Author Jerry Dennis and illustrator Glenn Wolff approach such questions with curiosity and wit, and suggest ways to observe first-hand extraordinary weather, astronomical anomalies, and odd and interesting wildlife of the skies.

This updated edition of the national bestseller is a spellbinding look into the natural world's most fascinating and baffling phenomena, with illustrated explanations of rainbows, meteors, sunsets, hurricanes, the northern lights, bird and insect flight, and dozens of other curiosities. Subjects are arranged by season, and each is discussed in a concise and entertaining style that blends the most recent scientific findings with historical anecdotes, personal observations, and examples of the lore and superstitions that have always surrounded phenomena of the skies.

PRAISE:
“Amusing and illuminating…This writer-artist team shines a bright and lovely light on nature.” —Los Angeles Times

“Charming, informative, humorous, and scholarly… embraces wind and weather, the sun, the moon and stars, the seasons of the year and the effect of these things on the denizens of this planet. It is a delight.” —Nelson Bryant, columnist for The New York Times

"Vastly entertaining, valuable... Makes natural history so much fun the reader is sucked from paragraph to paragraph, page to page, chapter to chapter.” —St. Louis Post-Dispatch

"This delightful look at nature...is a cornucopia of fact and lore. Wit, humor, wonder, and reverence spice and season the vignettes herein. It's Raining Frogs and Fishes reminds adults — especially in this hectic, fast-paced, just-do-it world — that it is more than OK, it is desirable, to be child-like and to look up at the heavens and ask why." —Toledo Blade
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