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.
“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