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Under the Stars

How America Fell in Love with Camping
By: Dan White
Narrated by: Eric Michael Summerer
Length: 14 hrs and 46 mins
4 out of 5 stars (27 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From the High Sierra to the Adirondacks and the Everglades, Dan White travels the nation to experience firsthand - and sometimes face-first - how the American wilderness transformed from the devil's playground into a source of adventure, relaxation, and renewal.

Whether he's camping nude in cougar country, being attacked by wildlife while "glamping", or crashing a girls-only adventure for urban teens, White seeks to animate the evolution of outdoor recreation. In the process he demonstrates how the likes of Emerson, Thoreau, Roosevelt, and Muir - along with visionaries such as Adirondack Murray, Horace Kephart, and Juliette Gordon Low - helped blaze a trail from transcendentalism to "leave no trace".

Wide ranging in research, enthusiasm, and geography, Under the Stars reveals a vast population of nature seekers, a country still in love with its wild places.

©2016 Daniel White (P)2016 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Dan White provides not only the history of camping, but also the present marked always by a love for the wild places that remain." (Bill McKibben, author of Wandering Home)

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Best book 2016

I'm not sure that it is the best bar none best book this year, but it's definitely the best non-fiction book for me. An excellent overview by a knowledgable author who loves his subject.

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Enjoyed the book and learned so much about history of US parks

In the style of Jon Krackuer, Dan White details his US National Parks adventures with interviews of experts/officials, biographies of camping pioneers and the evolution of camping as a lifestyle. Full of wisdom and anecdotes from his own outdoor experiences as well as comic reliefs from his near disaster trips, the books is a must for those who has ever or is contemplating camping.

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    3 out of 5 stars

Odd tone, stuck.

I think I'm like halfway through and I'm stuck, haven't picked it up in a while. His tone is too bizarre. I guess I do the same thing, hide my insecurities with comic self denigration, a habit I think I'll need to reexamine. The book just sounds really weird. The author/narrator has given himself the character of the dad in Malcom in the Middle. He narrates his incompetence and insecurities and misadventures in a way that's meant to be funny but gets old fast. I'd rather just have him be himself, just recounting straightforwardly his reactions and emotions, successes and failures without apologizing for it with dorky annoying humor. It's insulting since the rest of us are human too, and it's like he's judging us by judging himself. And I feel like there's sexism in there too, like his insecurities have to do with him not meeting a masculine ideal and that his failure in not measuring up is experienced by him as not being man enough, too much like a woman, a flawed, lesser thing. Women can write about the same subjects and just be themselves, but it's like he thinks he's too good, or men are too good, to do that. Plus I think he mansplained to Cheryl Strayed. He definitely, as he recounts it discouraged her from the trip that ultimately became Wild for reasons that seemed kind of gendered. Joke is on him, Oprah's book of the year, and it rocked. His subject matter was interesting, especially the Adirondacks and the Girl Scouts, although it all kind of dragged, but I just got tired of entertaining his insecure tone. if you're going to tell a story, just tell it, don't make us have to wade through all your emotional baggage to get to it.

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Outstanding

What a delightful book! Dan White reviews a variety of methods of camping in America and also explores what camping provides people. His humor is refreshing and his writing is crisp and vivid. The narrator, Eric Summerer, gives an excellent reading.

I read the hard-cover version of this book years ago, but while searching for a book to listen to while hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail, I purchased the Audible version. The material felt fresh and I enjoyed the book even more the second time around. Highly recommended.

I hope Audible considers including another one of White's books, "The Cactus Eaters."

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Tries to carry on longer than necessary.

Drones on toward then end. Historical m portion of camping was a great listen, but 1st hand account of camping may be better for a city dweller who longs to someday camp.