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Outlands: Journeys to the Outer Edges of Cape Cod Paperback – July 25, 2001

4.5 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Besides being an important book, it's also a graceful pleasure to read. --Boston Globe

About the Author

Aldo Leopold, long a member of the National Wildlife Federation's Conservation Hall of Fame, was posthumously honored in 1978 with the John Burroughs Medal in tribute to a lifetime of work in conservation and, in particular, for A Sand County Almanac.
Robert Finch is the author of The Primal Place and Common Ground: A Naturalist's Cape Cod.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: David R Godine; Reprint edition (July 25, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0879237422
  • ISBN-13: 978-0879237424
  • Product Dimensions: 4.9 x 0.6 x 7.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,758,313 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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If Amazon sales ranking and number of user reviews are indicators of how a book is received and appreciated, then it is sad that not many people read or appreciate this book by Robert Finch.

I consider myself to be among the lucky ones who have stumbled across this gem. This is the second book by Robert Finch that I have read (the first being "Common Ground"), and I find it to have the same consistency and quality as the first book. Some essays, such as "Cutting in" (about beached pilot whales), "A Swallow Summer" are unsentimental narratives of natural phenomena, in which I find myself always struck by the clarity of his writing and the accuracy of the descriptions. Some essays have more of a human touch, such as "An Alewife Lesson" and "A Summer Place"; indeed, although they can undoubtedly be considered nature writings, one can argue that the natural phenomena in them have to take a backseat -- they are more about people and their behavior in nature. "What the Stones Said" has a mythical tinge, keenly reminding one of Thoreau's writings. "North Beach Journal" is the longest essay in the book, and it is an intimate account of one's journey into and out of solitude (at least that is how I read it).

I do not always agree with Mr. Finch's behavior. For example, in "The Seals of Jeremy Point", he described how he charged toward a group of sunning seals -- but at least he is honest to tell us the story. I think I understand why he did it though, for he said in the book "... it is not our impulses that are bad, but the manner and scale on which we have chosen to express them". Yes, the problem is scale, we eventually will crowd out everything else, and perhaps ourselves in the end.
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Format: Paperback
While most of the essays in this book were like gazing at a collection of Cape Cod water colors and losing myself in each of the paintings, others of the author's essays I rapidly read because to me they weren't so Capey--beautifully written, but just not enough of the Cape itself in their passages. "What The Stones Said" and "Star People" would be examples. However, most of the essays involved me entirely to the point of frustration that not included in the book was a more detailed map to show me exactly where Mr. Finch was and to what he was referring. I had to dig out both my Resort and Cape Cod National Park Service Maps to pinpoint his whereabouts. For all the time we have spent on the Cape over the years, we have never visited Monomoy Island, Brewster's Old Grist Mill, or the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History there. This book has inspired me this coming summer to visit these places, and the grandchildren have already been advised this is what we're doing!
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Everyone of the books I have read by Robert Finch about the Cape draws back the fog from another sliver or unseen portion of this peninsula. "Outlands" brings you up close and personal with the wildlife and wild lands of the Lower Cape. I particularly enjoyed the anecdotal insight into Henry Beston and the account of the fate of the Outermost House, but he also opened up for me Monomoy Island and Jeremy Point. This book is like a cold beer in an iced mug on a hot summer day. Refreshing!
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Loved this book. Finch at his best.
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