Under the Stars
Author: Dan White (author of The Cactus Eaters)
How America Fell in Love with Camping
Stepping into a novel or a book creates a relationship, an emotional attachment, a release, a gathering of information previously unknown, an uplifting of good and positive or uneasy and negative emotion or both. It leaves us with an impression as well as a feeling. Dan White’s easy going availability as he prowls the wild lands and parks and forests of our nation creates a space for us to go in joy and engagement in how we got there. Where? Why, the wild places of course.
The wild places. Unless you are reading Maurice Sendak’s The Wild Things (“And now,” cried Max, “let the wild rumpus start!”), we don’t really consider that the “wild places” in our hearts and our country are our national parks, our unhewn forests, our lakes, rivers – all that land that is still considered wilderness in a country that has expanded in so many ways. Author Dan White brings us to our knees with this delightful compendium/novel/guide/history of camping in the wilderness of this country and how the United States fell in love with its own national parks and haunted forests that still stand. From the Sierras to the Adirondacks to the Everglades, states the front book blurb, Dan White travels the nation to experience firsthand – and sometimes face first – how the American wilderness transformed from the devil’s playground into a source of adventure, relaxation and renewal.
“Recreational camping is not an invention like the dynamo or the incandescent lightbulb. It’s a product of gradual refinement and much reconsideration, not just of camping practices but also of the animating philosophies behind them.
“Today’s camping is the end result of changing attitudes toward wilderness as a place of mischief, deviltry, and derangement in colonial times to a place of release, relaxation or even worship” (page 3).
As White follows Emerson, Thoreau, Roosevelt, Muir, Juliette Gordon Lowe and other adventurers that paved the way for our love of camping today, he tells how we as a people learned to love and cherish camping and honor the Leave No Trace guidelines that we now attempt to follow. We follow him from early colonial America to woodsmen who survived the wild places, and wild animals, and who still take chances on the hills, in the mountains and on our mountain peaks to how camping evolved into an American pastime. The journey is researched and presented so very well that Under the Stars reads like a fiction novel, and White’s comprehensive research and anecdotes as well as a profound history of our parks and national monuments is un-put-down-able.
Ratings are based on a 5-star scale
Review by Broad “A”
We received a product to facilitate our review. All opinions are our own
- You can pick up this book on Amazon.com here: Under the Stars: How America Fell in Love with Camping or at a bookseller near you.