Shopping cart is empty.

Birchbark Blog

White Rage

Louise Erdrich - Monday, May 29, 2017

Dear Readers,

For the past month I've been acting as a book physician, writing out summer reading prescriptions for people with a few hours to spare.  Mostly, I've written out prescriptions for books that will make people laugh or become immersed in suspense.  White Rage by Carol Anderson is stronger medicine.  Images of black rage abound -- from riots in L.A. to Ferguson, Minneapolis, St. Paul -- but images of white rage are often hidden in the acts of the justice system and in the halls of congress.  Anderson has undertaken a history of white rage, and it is shocking from the first pages.  Who knew that Abraham Lincoln wanted to rid the country of slaves by sending them to what is now Panama?  How many high school classes teach the true history of Reconstruction?  With unceasing clarity and calm,  Carol Anderson narrates a history so compelling that I could not stop reading.  If you're thinking of picking up a true crime drama, why not enlarge your thinking with a true historical crime drama?  

This is an extraordinary book and I hope you read it.

For books and readers everywhere,

Yours truly,


Superior Lake

Louise Erdrich - Tuesday, May 02, 2017

The Death and Life of the Great Lakes reads like a mystery -- how on earth will people and the lakes themselves defeat invasive species like the sea lamprey, zebra and quagga mussels, alewives?  Dan Egan makes the story of each battle epic, full of colorful characters and bold acts.  A reporter for the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Egan knows how to pare a story to its most interesting elements.  Having finished the book, I immediately started over.  (I can't remember the last time I've done that.)  More questions:  Will the deep troughs, now drains, that have been mistakenly engineered to assist large vessels, draw down the lakes?  Will the salmon. or the whitefish and other native species, triumph in the end?  And what of the waterless states fed by the shrinking Colorado River?  There have always been plans to pipe Lake Superior out of MInnesota.  When and how will our fellow Americans come for this vast, but finite, treasure?   

Taken for granted, spoiled, fished out, over-loved, will the Great Lakes survive us?  Probably, in some form, but we could very well not survive their loss.  So this book is on my MUST READ list.  Suspenseful, superbly informative, crucial.  I also love Egan's portraits of people working for and against the lakes -- a "World War II veteran named Vernon Applegate showed up and did what no creature in the past 360 million years had apparently been able to do.  He got under the lamprey's skin.  He figured out how it migrates and how it hides.  How it feeds, how it breeds, and how it dies.  And then he put a stake in it." 

If you don't know what a sea lamprey is, look it up.  You are in for a treat.  Bring this book to any lake this summer, any beach, and be grateful for Applegate.

Canoe Family

Recent PostsRSS


gratitude Magers and Quinn State Troopers Anton Treuer thanks Keeping Heart on Pine Ridge Love Chickadee National Book Award Vic Glover Interview Ha Jin The Farmer's Daughter Aubrey/Maturin Kate DiCamillo Aza anniversary Keepers of the Trees Gary Clement cafe closing Guthrie Theater The Royal Prussian Library Book Review Hillary Clinton Kabul Our Knowledge Is Not Primitive ptsd health care reform buffalo Up Late Again NACDI:All My Relations Let's Take the Long Way Home post holiday reads ependent peculiar touches of green and gold Stephen Salisbury devoted customers Hilary Mantel Botany British Navy Birchbark Books Philip Roth Video Canada post holiday President Obama Islam Too Much Happiness Peak Oil knowledge S.C. Gwynne Afghanistan Tree Houses friends The Resilient Gardener The Porcupine Year gardens graphix Nemesis Alan Weisman twins adventure This Green World plants Peak Water how good looking you are Alice Munro Climate Change Master Butchers Singing Club tree books Makoons Ojibwe Beth Dooley The Round House Rare Books School Gardens trees The Wealth of Nature Women and Trees Too Loud A Solitude thank you friends Roberto Bolano E.L. Doctorow Unnatural Disasters Education Victory Gardens Bill Moyers Journal Gryphon Press Jim Harrison Chitra Divakaruni Anishinabe solstice, Thomas King Dogs Mohamed's Ghosts book and dinner club World on the Edge Light in August customers Gail Caldwell neighborhood spring Patrick O'Brian Native Arts Zombies Bleak House Milkweed Press green north dakota Fireworks ireland Catalyst japan The Transition Handbook favorite book france Ice More Remarkable Trees Minnesota Wendy Makoons Geniusz aquifer show your love Easter Island boarding school pilgrims Wastepaper leaves and snow The Ojibwe photography joy Bohumil Hrabal euphoria Nero Dartmouth Wolf Hall The Game of Silence favorite tree H2Oil monkey in a dryer Collective Denial Czech Writer Population birchbark house series language revitalization fresh water favorite dog The Birchbark House Michael Jackson Green Team sweden local economy Keystone XL coyote Mankato Powwow china italy Brown Dog germany Louise Greenland support the most romantic city in the world Pembina Native People The Blue Sky Poetry Small Bookstores as Commons incarnation Tar Sands 2666 bill mckibben Kenwood Gardens Ojibwemowin William Trevor Minneapolis city of books Anishinabemowin cafe mississippi Emily Johnson Empire of the Summer Moon Remarkable Trees Crushing Books