Henry Beston, whose Outermost House is generally considered an imperishable classic of nature writing, was a poet who just happened to write prose. He was a meticulous observer, an early (and unsung) conservationist, and a prolific writer of letters, essays, and poetry, as well as books. Here, selected by his wife, Elizabeth Coatsworth (no mean writer herself), is a selection of his best — from The Outermost House to lengthy pieces from Northern Farm, Herbs and the Earth, and American Memory (one of the first studies to give the proper perspective on the role of the American Indian). The last section, “North of Maine,” contains portions of The St. Lawrence, one of the most memorable of the “Rivers of America” series. Beston was as close as this past century came to Henry David Thoreau. Anyone involved with nature, its protection and its celebration, should know his work.
One of the few writers who can match his prose to the mood of nature. —The New York Times