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The Everlasting Stream: A True Story of Rabbits, Guns, Friendship, and Family Hardcover – September, 2002

4.9 out of 5 stars 22 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

With humor and insight, Harrington (Crossings: A White Man's Journey into Black America) weaves several themes in his tribute to friendship and storytelling: a study of masculinity, a corrective to the belief that hunting is savage, a father-son chronicle, an ode to common folks, an examination of race, and a city mouse/country mouse fable. That he uses his African-American father-in-law's annual Thanksgiving rabbit hunts as a thread to stitch these patches together only enhances his achievement. Harrington, a white, former Washington Post Magazine writer, nicely balances analytical distance with the stories of the wisecracking, whiskey-sipping black pals of his father-in-law, who are interested in shooting the breeze as much as the cottontails. With its description of crying bears and why it's better to be "off the egg" than on (i.e., able to bag a bunny), this does for hunting what A River Runs Through It did for fly-fishing. Comparing sunrises to cleaning prey might be a stretch, but not when the prose is this beautifully tactile: for Harrington, it's feral yet transporting to "cut a rabbit's belly open on a cold day and suddenly feel its innards warm your freezing hands."
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

According to Harrington (Univ. of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign), an award-winning journalist for the Washington Post Magazine and the author of Crossings, his latest work is "a hybrid, comprising journalism, memoir, and essay." Harrington tells several good hunting stories while giving readers a detailed education in the art of hunting rabbits. Interspersed throughout this thoughtful book is the author's own story of his simple beginnings and rise up the corporate ladder and his decision to give up the prestigious job to return, with his family, to a simpler life. This urban journalist also tells of his experiences with his African American father-in-law and his lifetime buddies in rural Kentucky, all against a backdrop of hunting rabbits. The question of why we hunt is explored in depth and summed up in a conversation the author had with a dinner guest. "I can't believe you killed those little bunnies," the guest said. His response: "I can't believe you ate those little bunnies without killing one." Recommended for all public and academic libraries. Scott R. DiMarco, Herkimer Cty. Community Coll., NY
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press; 1 edition (September 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 087113862X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0871138620
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.8 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,503,315 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
"The Everlasting Stream" is a tale about male relationships, about self discovery and about hunting that does justice to all three subjects. While many books use one story as a vessel to carry another, this develops all three stories simultaneously and completely.
Author Walt Harrington portrays himself as a snobby Washington Post reporter who finds himself tramping around Kentucky fields, shooting rabbits with his father-in-law's hunting buddies to prove he is not above them.
Through the Thanksgiving hunts, Harrington comes to respect the men. He comes to understand himself and to wonder how he so misplaced himself. He grows up with his son and reconsiders his relationship with his late father. Through it all, he thinks deeply about the experience of hunting, turning inside out his initial revulsion to it. In the end, the hunts lead him to make a profound change in his life.
Harrington finds answers, real-life answers, and not the clear-cut, no-regrets answers of cardboard stories.
As Harrington re-evaluates his life, male friendships and hunting, you will, too. It's a journey worth taking, and Harrington is an engaging guide.
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By A Customer on December 29, 2002
Format: Hardcover
A thoughtful, beautifully written, almost poetic meditation on hunting, tradition, friendship, nature and human nature. It is ostensibly about rabbit hunting, but that is not where this book's meaning lies nor where the heart of its story is. Its story and meaning lie with the people, and Harrington writes in a voice so personal that you feel you know him and his family and friends. This is not a book for the PETA crowd, or for those who call rabbits "bunnies." If you've ever hunted, or if you understand the true nature of Nature, you'll enjoy The Everlasting Stream. (Note: This review has been written by a woman who, although she does not hunt, has shot the occasional rabbit when its depredations in her garden have become intolerable and the Hav-a-Hart trap proved ineffectual.)
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Everlasting Stream, by Walt Harrington, is a hunting book that isn't a book about hunting. I had read a brief review about this book being a good addition to the pro-hunting literature. Well, it was, in a sense. Harrington is a fine writer, and most pro-hunting books tend to focus on the charismatic megafauna like deer and elk. Harrington's focus is on the common and ordinary, the prolific cottontail. No trophy hunting here; this is all about hunting for meat.

What does Harrington say in defense of hunting?

"Animals bleed. Live with it" (p. 146).

"It doesn't matter to a rabbit what kills him - fever, flukes, worms, weather, hawks, or me. The rabbit is dead" (p. 184).

"Killing an animal doesn't deaden the human conscience; it enlivens it" (p. 184).

"Hunting isn't golf or tennis, which demand only technical mastery. Hunting isn't merely an exercise in male bonding, as so many believe. Hunting has moral gravitas" (p. 185).

"It is people who enjoy the fruits of the kill without feeling the ominous responsibility of the killing who are morally delinquent" (p. 186).

"I'm not supposed to hunt without guilt. I'm supposed to hunt despite the guilt" (p. 187).

"Long ago, a woman at my table said to me, 'I can't believe you killed those little bunnies.' I now know what I should have said in response. 'I can't believe you ate those little bunnies without killing one'" (p. 189).

Harrington isn't perfect. He confesses a time when "I fire, and the rabbit tumbles, heels over head. When I reach down, the rabbit suddenly kicks his hind legs violently and drubs my hand twice before I can pull away... I use the butt of my gun like a deadfall and club the rabbit's head.
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Format: Hardcover
Having married an African-American woman, journalist Walt Harrington found himself expected to maintain the family traditions by going rabbit hunting with his father-in-law, and his friends, every Thanksgiving. At first, Walt looked down on these course, back-country men as throwbacks to an earlier, more primitive way of life. With time, though, he came to realize that these men shared a different, stronger bond than he had ever known. Unconsciously, they showed him what being a man could be all about, and he learned many lessons as he (and later him and his son) hunted rabbits in the hills of Kentucky.

This book came as quite a surprise to me. I tripped across it by accident, and am quite glad that I did. It’s written in a stream-of-consciousness style, which allows the author to skip forward and backward through time, showing his development throughout. Indeed, if you are interested in men’s books (such as those by Robert Bly), then I highly recommend that you get this one. It is a fascinating look at life and being a man.
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Format: Paperback
The first chapter of “The Everlasting Stream” had me cracking up, perhaps because I could relate to the non-outdoorsy side of author Walt Harrington. As the citified author prepared to go on his first hunt, he felt he looked “silly” in his hunting garb, was highly conscious of rabbit germs, was disgusted by the wet dogs in the pickup truck, and felt the country men he was with, including his father-in-law, were … well, odd.

Quickly, though, Harrington switches to a less sarcastic tone and relates how his annual fall hunting trips to rural Kentucky sparked something in him and eventually changed his life. Part memoir, part journalism, and part essay, “The Everlasting Stream” contains a wealth of themes from the reflective first-person voice of Harrington. Many topics emerge and interweave, including the importance of friends, family, and the lucky harmonization of life that can sometimes happen.

Harrington is a writer’s writer, a guy who will get down on his hands and knees to study vegetation or measure the temperature of water to get the facts right in his pieces. The beauty of pastoral Kentucky comes alive through Harrington’s prose, thanks to the depth of naturistic details that make you want to visit the locale. He hears new things amid stories by the men that have been retold countless times, and Harrington’s tender and evolving descriptions of his growing son—from a little kid who couldn’t wait to go hunting with the men someday to a future hunter who eventually outshot his dad on the trails—were extremely touching. In the latter part of the book Harrington talks about his own dad and how the older man’s outlook and manner shaped the writer’s life.
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