Cover image for Northland : a 4,000-mile journey along America's forgotten border
Title:
Northland : a 4,000-mile journey along America's forgotten border

Four thousand mile journey along America's forgotten border

North land
Title:
Northland : a 4,000-mile journey along America's forgotten border
Personal Author:
Edition:
First edition.
Publisher Info:
New York : W.W. Norton & Company, [2018]
Physical Description:
xviii, 247 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Contents:
The dawnland -- The sweet-water seas -- Boundary waters -- Seven fires -- The medicine line.
Abstract:
"Fox follows explorer Samuel de Champlain's adventures across the Northeast; recounts the rise and fall of the timber, iron, and rail industries; crosses the Great Lakes on a freighter; tracks America's fur traders through the Boundary Waters; and traces the forty-ninth parallel from Minnesota to the Pacific Ocean. Fox, who grew up the son of a boat-builder in Maine's northland, packs his narrative with colorful characters (Captain Meriwether Lewis, railroad tycoon James J. Hill, Chief Red Cloud of the Lakota Sioux) and extraordinary landscapes (Glacier National Park, the Northwest Angle, Washington's North Cascades)."-- Dust jacket.

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Call Number
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974 FOX New or Popular Book Adult Nonfiction
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974 FOX New or Popular Book Adult Nonfiction
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974 FOX New or Popular Book Adult Nonfiction
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Summary

Summary

America's northern border is the world's longest international boundary, yet it remains obscure even to Americans. The northern border was America's primary border for centuries--much of the early history of the United States took place there--and to the tens of millions who live and work near the line, the region even has its own name: the northland.Travel writer Porter Fox spent three years exploring 4,000 miles of the border between Maine and Washington, traveling by canoe, freighter, car, and foot. In Northland, he blends a deeply reported and beautifully written story of the region's history with a riveting account of his travels. Setting out from the easternmost point in the mainland United States, Fox follows explorer Samuel de Champlain's adventures across the Northeast; recounts the rise and fall of the timber, iron, and rail industries; crosses the Great Lakes on a freighter; tracks America's fur traders through the Boundary Waters; and traces the forty-ninth parallel from Minnesota to the Pacific Ocean.Fox, who grew up the son of a boat-builder in Maine's northland, packs his narrative with colorful characters (Captain Meriwether Lewis, railroad tycoon James J. Hill, Chief Red Cloud of the Lakota Sioux) and extraordinary landscapes (Glacier National Park, the Northwest Angle, Washington's North Cascades). He weaves in his encounters with residents, border guards, Indian activists, and militia leaders to give a dynamic portrait of the northland today, wracked by climate change, water wars, oil booms, and border security.


Author Notes

Porter Fox is the editor of Nowhere and the author of Deep. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Believer, Outside, National Geographic Adventure, and The Best American Travel Writing. Raised in Maine, he lives in New York.


Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

In this contemplative narrative, Fox (Deep) travels the United States' border with Canada, following the footsteps of pre-Columbus Native Americans, European explorers, mountain men, and 18th-century government surveyors. The narrative is more ruminative than eventful-aside from a red fox defecating on a lawn or some sidelong glances from patrol agents, there's not a whole lot that actually happens during Fox's three-year exploration; in ways, the inactivity itself reflects the stasis of this borderland area. Fox has a keen eye for flora, fauna, geology, and meteorology (North Dakota is equidistant between the North Pole and the equator, making it "the most extreme weather zone in the world"); he's also adept at conveying his knowledge and capturing the natural beauty and ancient landscapes of the borderlands ("Minnesota's Boundary Waters is still primitive, carved by nature and untouched by humans"). Fox's travels uncover a secret: this largely ignored border is key to the U.S. economy as it is home to an abundance of water, oil, and natural gas, and it will loom large if and when America's more easily accessible natural resources become depleted. This is a worthy travelogue that explores the beauty of America's untouched land. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.


Booklist Review

Mention border security, and chances are Americans think of Mexico. But the only known terrorists to have sneaked across the border came through Canada. In this sweeping account of the northern boundary of the U.S., Fox travels from Maine to Washington State to trace the unique character of the land and its history. He moves seamlessly between geologic and human time scales, explaining the formation of the Great Lakes basin with the same ease with which he recounts the adventures of early European explorers like Champlain and La Salle. He narrates his own travels with keen observation, attuned to the special details that set each place apart, and speaks to fascinating people along the way who have shaped their lives, in one way or another, around the border. The border itself proved to be difficult to pin down, both geographically and historically (U.S. schemes to bring Canada into the Union lasted into the twentieth century). Although this boundary line is, for the most part, invisible, Fox finds that it still leaves an indelible mark on the places and people it touches.--Thoreson, Bridget Copyright 2010 Booklist


Table of Contents

Introductionp. xiii
Part I The Dawnlandp. 1
Part II The Sweet-Water Seasp. 55
Part III Boundary Watersp. 107
Part IV Seven Firesp. 143
Part V The Medicine Linep. 187
Acknowledgmentsp. 227
A Note on Sourcesp. 229
Indexp. 233