The Last Empty Places

The Last Empty Places

A Past and Present Journey Through the Blank Spots on the American Map

Book - 2010
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Americans have shaped the idea of wilderness, and it has shaped us. The Last Empty Places is one man's love letter to the enduring American wild, where our country's character was forged and its destiny set in motion.

Memories of growing up in a log cabin in the Wisconsin woods inspired writer Peter Stark to seek out untouched tracts of the American wilderness. What he discovered in these "blank spots" on the U.S. map is that these places are actually teeming with the rich history of our nation.

Stark journeys into the great wild to four of the emptiest expanses he can find--northern Maine, central Pennsylvania, the Gila Wilderness of New Mexico, and southeast Oregon--and in so doing weaves together a majestic and dramatic tale of frontiersmen and fighters, naturalists and philosophers, émigrés and natives. But he also goes beyond that, acknowledging to some of the great minds that first framed our relationship to the wilderness that would become our home--passionate thinkers and writers including Thoreau, Emerson, and John Muir.

The result is a narrative that blends nature and history in a vivid new way, a tale that provides an unforgettable window into our country's past and present.
Publisher: New York : Ballantine Books, c2010.
ISBN: 9780345495372
Branch Call Number: 973 STA
Characteristics: xvii, 325 p. : maps ; 25 cm.


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Nov 15, 2017

Peter Stark shows that the blank areas on the map do not represent empty landscapes. He gives a short history of each of four places, along with his own adventures, either alone or with his young family. He interweaves these with an account of four of the great advocates for the American wilderness. I enjoyed the narratives and felt enlightened by the insights on the struggles faced by William Bartram, Henry David Thoreau, John Muir and Aldo Leopold.

Jan 07, 2011

Very interesting concept. The sections on Oregon and New Mexico were particularly well written. Much history intermixed with the authors personal experiences made this a good read.

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