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Of Woods and Waters: A Kentucky Outdoors Reader

edited by Ron Ellis

Availablecloth$29.95s 978-0-8131-2373-8
432 pages  Pubdate: 10/21/2005  5.5 x 8.5  illus, map

Since the opening of the American frontier, Kentucky’s vast wilderness has cast a spell over those who have walked among the trees of its majestic forests or alongside its creeks and rivers brimming with catfish, bass, and trout. The influence of the land and the outdoors has had a significant impact on the course of the history and culture of the Bluegrass State, from the rugged mountains in the east to the calm deep waters of the western part of the state. Kentucky’s forests and streams are some of the most pristine in the nation, and they have inspired artistic and literary works by such famous Americans as Daniel Boone and John James Audubon. Similarly, Kentucky writers have often expressed their attachment to their native or adopted state through their love of the land. Bringing together fiction, nonfiction, and poetry from many of the state’s most famous writers, Of Woods and Waters is the first book of its kind to celebrate the Kentucky outdoors. It collects the authentic written and visual experiences of Wendell Berry, Bobbie Ann Mason, Barbara Kingsolver, Thomas D. Clark, Jesse Stuart, James Still, Harriette Arnow, Harry Caudill, Silas House, George Ella Lyon, and Robert Penn Warren, among others. A number of the pieces are original to this volume, which also includes art by Harlan Hubbard, Rick Hill, and Paul Sawyier. Featuring both established and emerging authors, Of Woods and Waters blends a range of writing styles and outdoor experiences to create a truly unique vision of Kentucky’s land and life.

A book that is long overdue, considering the rich tradition of hunting and fishing in Kentucky, and our bounty of natural resources. -- Art Lander, Outdoors Columnist, Lexington Herald-Leader

Offering tales of fishing, hiking, canoeing -- Chevy Chaser

This is as good a volume of hunting, fishing, and nature writing as I've seen. It gathers over a century of fine writing about the central Appalachian landscape from John James Audubon's day to the present. -- Gray's Sporting Journal

No other state offers such a variety of topics for its writers and this one, which incorporates love of the land and the love of nature, is special. This anthology may well inspire others to share tales concerning this genre, and kudos to all if it does -- James C. Claypool, Northern Kentucky University

An insightful and varied view of Kentucky's lush landscape from many voices, past and present. . . . Will certainly appeal to hunters, anglers, environmentalists, and those who simply enjoy the outdoors -- Kentucky Monthly

Filled with 74 essays, stories, and poems and more than 50 illustrations, the diverse collection is an exploration of Kentuckians' kinship with the land and an attempt to describe, even if words are inadequate, the ancestral spirit that draws us to wild places. -- Kentucky Post

Takes your mind outside. Read enough of it and you might get out of the chair and follow. -- Lexington Herald-Leader

A superb collection. Ellis has covered an extraordinary swath of ground with this collection, the first that I know of to so thoroughly plow through the state's deep outdoor roots. -- Louisville Courier-Journal

A journey through time and changing landscapes, yet it has a constant -- Northern Kentucky Challenger

It is a journey through time and changing landscapes, yet it has a constant -- The Sunday Challenger

Reading Of Woods & Waters is a sensory experience. Its fine, down-home musings stay with you long after the last page is turned. -- Constance Alexander -- Murray Ledger and Times