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Brush Cat: On Trees, the Wood Economy, and the Most Dangerous Job in America Hardcover

ISBN-13: 978-0312368913 ISBN-10: 0312368917 Edition: First Edition

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press; First Edition edition (March 17, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312368917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312368913
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.9 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,669,134 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

McEnany (coauthor of Bode) offers a spirited account of life among the burly, hard-living men who log New Englands timberlands thats part self-deprecating memoir (hes a self-admitted klutz around chainsaws) and part serious study of both the ubiquity of wood in contemporary America and the future of domestic logging in the Atlantic Northeast. The good news is that the eastern forests continue to be a valuable renewable resource when logged with sustainability in mind, reports the author. The bad news: sprawling development, increasingly onerous governmental regulations, climate change and the consequent truncated logging season are all gnawing at the loggers precarious livelihood. Unlike the forests of the West, where mechanized logging is the norm and huge swaths of forests are clear-cut indiscriminately, New England woodlots are almost all privately owned land of 25 acres or less, and logging is done by the Brush Cats—independent, self-sufficient woodsmen, who are said to have the most dangerous job in America and are profiled with a mix of comic hyperbole, measured awe and deep affection in this loquacious study. (Mar.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Although the logging industry is a lightning rod for green concerns, McEnany effectively presents the case for generations of independent loggers who work the Great Northern Forest in New Hampshire. This is his home, and he did his research on the job and in the local bars. He dips deeply into the centuries of economic interdependence between the towns and the woods, while also describing the care with which “brush cats” tend to the trees. McEnany’s wide-ranging narrative includes everything from poet Robert Frost to detailed analysis of the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program, which is regarded as “essential to the future of New Hampshire’s forests.” But this is more a book about men and how they live than it is about the politics of sustainability. And even as he celebrates hard work in the great outdoors, McEnany does not romanticize his subject; he respects the men he writes about too much for that. For a smart discussion about responsible logging practices, Brush Cat should be a title of choice. --Colleen Mondor

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Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gerald Goffin on April 23, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book gives an interesting overview of many critical issues facing the logging industry. I found the book most engrossing in the first few chapters that dealt more with the actual life of real loggers. As the book went on, however, the author seemed to lose focus and go on tangents aimed more at filling space than keeping up with the original theme. While there is something to be said for the casual, humorous style of the author, I also found it somewhat symbolic of a lack of discipline in the writing of this book including many redundancies and even a number of typo's. I do recommend this book for folks who are interested in logging and related environment concerns, but I personally was looking for a book that stayed more focused on the logger.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David B. Feeney on April 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
'Brush Cat' takes us into the wilds of the Northern Forest on a quest for great trees with the Brush Cats... noble woodcutters and perservers of the forest! McEnany gives great insights into how the Brush Cats actually make the Northern Forests healthier (us too), as opposed to those who clear cut miles of wilderness. McEnany uses rapier wit in relating his personal experiences with Bob (A Brush Cat), and how truly amazing these brave men are... and how they are a dissapearing breed!
I look forward to Jack's next book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Paul Tognetti TOP 500 REVIEWER on December 17, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Being a lifelong city dweller I really never gave the subject of logging a whole lot of thought. So long as I had access to an inexpensive and abundant supply of computer paper, lumber, printed matter and toilet tissue it seemed that there was no overriding reason for me to give the subject a second thought. Jack McEnany resides in New Hampshire. Although not a logger himself Jack has lived and worked with loggers for nearly two decades. He has experienced first-hand the hazards that these hardy and brave souls face each and every day they are at work out in the woods. Meanwhile, Jack McEnany also has a firm grasp on the economics of this industry. Jack figured that it might be useful to write a book about logging and loggers so that clueless folks like me would come to appreciate the difficulty of the job that they do and just how important wood is to our economic well-being. "Brush Cat: On Trees, The Wood Economy, and the Most Dangerous Job In America" presents a fine overview of the industry and those who work at it for a living. I found it to be a real eye-opener!

Perhaps the one statistic that jumped out at me more than any other in "Brush Cat" is the amount of paper each of us consumes in a single year. According to McEnaney "Every year Americans use more than 90 million tons of paper and paperboard. That's an average of 700 pounds of paper products per person per year! Every year more than 2 billion books, 350 milion magazines and 24 billion newspapers are published." Imagine what would happen to our nation if we had to confront a serious shortage of forest-industry products? McEnany points out that our domestic logging industry has been quite adversely affected by trade agreements like NAFTA and the Central American Free Trade Agreement.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tristan Davies on June 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
A delightful book that owes more to Izaak Walton than to John McPhee, though it deserves comparison with McPhee as well. McEnany gives a compelling sense of an upstate New Hampshire culture that is as remote and unknown as the more typically romantic American West. Most interesting of all is the author's distinctive and winning prose. He's a real writer.
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