We seem to only talk about our Southern border these days. This story brings our Northern border in all its length and natural beauty into the forefront.
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 Maine, Fox follows explorer Samuel de Champlain’s adventures across the Northeast bringing history to life for the reader. He 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. It's pretty awesomely detailed.
This is worth reading just for its long narrative descriptions of places like the Boundary Waters which you may have heard of but most of the US population will never see firsthand.
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 it is not an entirely pretty picture.
July 3, 2018