Life and Wildlife in the Wild, Wild East

By Edward Kanze

Subjects: Memoir, New York/regional
Series: Excelsior Editions
Imprint: Excelsior Editions
Paperback : 9781438454146, 248 pages, July 2014

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Table of contents

1. Why
2. We Arrive
3. The House
4. One Plus One Equals Four
5. The Lawn
6. The River
7. The Woods
8. Home Economics
9. Neighbors
10. Summer Journal
11. Fall Journal
12. Winter Journal
13. Spring Journal
14. Into the Future

Probes deeply into Adirondack Mountain lives, both human and otherwise, bringing the area to vivid and colorful life.


Winner of the 2015 Adirondack Literary Award for Best Memoir presented by the Adirondack Center for Writing

Born just north of New York City, Edward Kanze traveled as far as the wilds of Australia and New Zealand, working as a naturalist, park ranger, and nature writer, before finally settling in New York's Adirondacks for the riskiest of all life's adventures: marriage and children. Adirondack tells the story of how he and his wife, Debbie, bought a tumbledown house, rescued it from ruin, started a family, and planted themselves deep in Adirondack soil. Along the way, he brings the unique history of this area to life by sharing stories of his ancestors, who have lived there for generations, and by offering captivating descriptions of the world around him. A keen observer, Kanze will charm readers with his tales of bears, birds, and fluorescent mice.

Edward Kanze is a naturalist and licensed Adirondack guide. He has written extensively for various magazines and newspapers and is the author of several books, including Kangaroo Dreaming: An Australian Wildlife Odyssey.


"…an agreeable and informative book that is part memoir, part essay collection and part seasonal journal … a reader of Adirondack will find echoes of many different writers … Despite flashes of these many authors on the pages of Adirondack, in the end Kanze makes it his and his family's book, with his writing, wit and insight. " — Schenectady Sunday Gazette

"Reading the book is a must. It will become a classic. " — Blueline

"…a seamlessly blended memoir. " — Adirondac

"…an impressively presented memoir that is as informative as it is entertaining. An inherently fascinating read from beginning to end. " — Midwest Book Review

"The house that Kanze and his wife, Debbie, bought more than a decade ago came with plenty of drawbacks that required attention … Luckily for us, as readers we get a good laugh out of the situation as Kanze describes the trials and tribulations of dealing with these shortcomings. " — Lake Placid News

"…a combination of memoir and natural history served up with enthusiasm, wry humor, and a touch of awe … Adirondack is an enjoyable read … In his thoughtful writing, Kanze reminds us to always cherish the complicated natural world that was here long before the first settlers cut trails and roads into the Adirondack mountains. " — Adirondack Explorer

"Mr. Kanze's way of circling back on himself, wondering if he is crazy to try to live in this place in this way, is oddly reassuring … We root for the Kanzes when freezing trees crack like rifle shots all night long, when hard frosts in July and August turn their carefully tended tomato plants to sad mush. We wonder how and why they do it, even as we wonder why we do what we do and live where we live. And we are comforted, knowing such brave and capable people wonder too. " — Wall Street Journal

"Beautifully written and utterly engaging—I savored every incident, every well-wrought sentence. " — Philip G. Terrie, author of Contested Terrain, Second Edition: A New History of Nature and People in the Adirondacks

"Adirondack is an absolute delight. If we were all living like the Kanzes, connected to our extended families, the fellow beings we share the biosphere with, the world would be a much healthier and better place. " — Alex Shoumatoff, contributing editor, Vanity Fair

"This is a heartfelt and meticulously researched journal of a man returning to and immersing himself in his home in the Adirondack Park. Connecting with history, natural history, and a community of people, Kanze places the conflicting nature philosophies of John Muir and John Burroughs into context in a relevant and poignant way. " — Bernd Heinrich, author of The Homing Instinct: Meaning and Mystery in Animal Migration

"The book reads almost like a conversation with a friend, a good-hearted, compassionate, maybe a little old-fashioned, wise, and wonderful friend. " — Mary A. Hood, author of Walking Seasonal Roads