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The Height of Our Mountains


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The Height of Our Mountains will without a doubt be an extraordinary resource for the residents of the Blue Ridge and Shenandoah Valley, but because of its remarkable inclusiveness and the vividness of its selections, it will also be invaluable for the rest of us, who-as teachers, writers, citizens, family members, and naturalists-are striving to identify ourselves more knowingly, joyfully, and faithfully with our own homes in nature. -- John Elder, from the foreword A convincing demonstration of the cultural richness and power of place over more than three centuries of time. -- Lawrence Buell, Harvard University This wonderful book is as subtle, varied, and inspiring as the landscape it chronicles. Every page, unfolding the deep changes brought by four hundred years of destruction and rebirth, reveals a new perspective on the mountains and valleys of Virginia. Branch and Philippon weave these words and images together with just the right measure of expertise and passion; we could not ask for better guides. -- Edward L. Ayers, University of Virginia An astute and critical collection of writings that shows clearly, across time, how a landscape, and the human perception of it, shares in the creation of a region's literature. This is a valuable book in service of a place. -- Rick Bass This anthology is of real interest to both the naturalist and historian inside all of us... It is fascinating to see the variety of responses to the same region over nearly four centuries. -- Stonecrop: A Natural History Book Catalog

About the Author

Michael P. Branch is Assistant Professor of English at the University of Nevada, Reno. Daniel J. Philippon is a Ph.D. candidate in the English at the University of Virginia.


A strong sense of place is evoked in this impressive anthology of nature writing from the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains and Shenandoah Valley. Seventy selections drawn from four centuries of writing include excerpts from letters, travel journals, diaries, novels, speeches, government reports, and personal essays that explore the interaction between humans and the natural world. * Library Journal *
All Virginia outdoor enthusiasts have visited the Blue Ridge, and all of them with a taste for reading will want to own The Height of Our Mountains. * Old Dominion Sierran *
With its mixture of fiction, personal, and scientific writing, the book has something for everyone... From colonization to contemporary times, the list of writers represented (70 in all) is both impressive and surprising, including Jefferson's former slave Isaac, James Audobon, Walt Whitman, Willa Cather, Ellen Glasgow, and Annie Dillard. * Blue Ridge Outdoors *
A model of regional nature-writing anthologies. * Virginia Quarterly Review *

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