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Reading the Mountains of Home Paperback – Oct 31 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Harvard University Press; Reprint edition (Oct. 31 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0674748891
  • ISBN-13: 978-0674748897
  • Product Dimensions: 1.6 x 12.5 x 21.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 367 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,636,306 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents


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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Hardcover
This is an unusual book. John Elder has written a book that blends the rhythms of life with the rhythms of nature.
Using Robert Frost's poem "Directive" as a springboard, Elder guides the reader through a series of year-long hikes that provide a rare glimpse into the writer soul, family and surroundings. His musings transport the reader from the glaciers that shaped his the plateau for the Village of Bristol, VT., the farmers who struggled and more often than not, failed to scratch a living from the rocky soil that surrounds his adopted home.
He carries us from broken china to Abenaki settlements, meditating on family relationships and deeper relationships with the land.
This is a beautiful example of nature writing, a work that draws a balance between the machinations of civilization and the beauties of wilderness. By inviting the reader to follow the last line of Frost's "Directive," to "Drink and be whole again beyond confusion.", Elder creates a sense of hope that Vermont's balance between nature and culture can speak to the rest of the nation.
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By Dan Toomey on Oct. 30 1998
Format: Hardcover
I have read many of the reviews of Reading the Mountains of Home--both before and after I studied the book itself--in various magazines and newspapers, and, while many of them summarize accurately and manage to convey fairly clearly its complex and compelling structures, the musical grace of the sentences, the unique of John Elder's vision about the interlinking of language and place and time and family, of Robert Frost's "Directive" and of the concept of wilderness in America. There is a sense also in which he has taken nature writing--a broad genre forever in evolution--and brought it to new heights through this creative interweaving.
But what I notice most is the book's quiet heroism. By this I mean simply that the author exhibits the courage to put all of his deepest convictions, his most strongly held beliefs, the raw stuff of his very life in a place for all to see. One does not see this very often in books. We need more writers like John Elder. We need people like John Elder, people who have the courage to write from the deepest parts of themselves for the greater good of all of us and the larger home we call earth. If there were six stars I would give it six stars.
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By A Customer on July 25 1998
Format: Hardcover
I learned much about New England from this fine book -- and about Robert Frost.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
An outstanding book Oct. 30 1998
By Dan Toomey - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I have read many of the reviews of Reading the Mountains of Home--both before and after I studied the book itself--in various magazines and newspapers, and, while many of them summarize accurately and manage to convey fairly clearly its complex and compelling structures, the musical grace of the sentences, the unique of John Elder's vision about the interlinking of language and place and time and family, of Robert Frost's "Directive" and of the concept of wilderness in America. There is a sense also in which he has taken nature writing--a broad genre forever in evolution--and brought it to new heights through this creative interweaving.
But what I notice most is the book's quiet heroism. By this I mean simply that the author exhibits the courage to put all of his deepest convictions, his most strongly held beliefs, the raw stuff of his very life in a place for all to see. One does not see this very often in books. We need more writers like John Elder. We need people like John Elder, people who have the courage to write from the deepest parts of themselves for the greater good of all of us and the larger home we call earth. If there were six stars I would give it six stars.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Hope for Co-existence Sept. 26 2002
By Craig L. Howe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
This is an unusual book. John Elder has written a book that blends the rhythms of life with the rhythms of nature.
Using Robert Frost's poem "Directive" as a springboard, Elder guides the reader through a series of year-long hikes that provide a rare glimpse into the writer soul, family and surroundings. His musings transport the reader from the glaciers that shaped his the plateau for the Village of Bristol, VT., the farmers who struggled and more often than not, failed to scratch a living from the rocky soil that surrounds his adopted home.
He carries us from broken china to Abenaki settlements, meditating on family relationships and deeper relationships with the land.
This is a beautiful example of nature writing, a work that draws a balance between the machinations of civilization and the beauties of wilderness. By inviting the reader to follow the last line of Frost's "Directive," to "Drink and be whole again beyond confusion.", Elder creates a sense of hope that Vermont's balance between nature and culture can speak to the rest of the nation.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A Surprisingly Satisfying Read Dec 25 2013
By Pauline Epistle - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A fascinating account by a scholarly professor which records his observations (including accounts and memories of his family life) as he hikes around his home area in Vermont during one year’s time. His annotated reading of Robert Frost’s poem “The Mountains of Home” shows how Frost refers poetically to the geography, history, and geology of this region in Vermont, which is also Frost’s home region. As Elder hikes in the area during each season of the year, he quotes freely from other works--poems by Frost and Wordsworth, essays from Thoreau and other New England writers, and notes, also includes litho-like drawings of scenes and hand-drawn dioramic drawings of topographic maps of his hiked routes. John Elder’s language itself is so poetic, yet so precise and so personal that I re-read many passages; and also recognized a quoted poem of Frost’s which appears as a lyric about Spring set to music in a familiar hymnal.
3 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Smart and moving and insightful. July 25 1998
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
I learned much about New England from this fine book -- and about Robert Frost.

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