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Book Contents: Beyond Walden: The Hidden History of America's Kettle Lakes and Ponds. 


  • Chapters - Eleven in all, each with its own link
  • CoverWhy this title and photo?
  • Dedication - Explains the curious dedication
  • Epigraphs - Philosophy and Family
  • Introduction  - Definition of kettles and the scope and purpose of the book
  • End Matter  - Eighty pages including a glossary and appendices

Lake Plantagenet, Minnesota taken from the Thorson cabin looks down on the path of explorer Henry Rowe Schoolcraft, who documented the Mississippi River headwaters in 1832 at lake Itasca.

Beyond Walden narrates the story of small lakes, beginning more than four billion years ago with the oldest rocks on Earth, and moving forward to a world where climate change, overdevelopment, and “nature deficit disorder” will have driven changes we can only predict. Culturally, it spans the butchered remains of ice-age meat meals to the urgent hope for a lake-based water resource conservation.


Library Journal: The author “provides a complete natural and cultural history of kettle lakes, which are remnants of the Ice Age scattered along the path of retreating glaciers from Maine to Montana.

Beyond Walden: “Savvy real estate developers have been prospecting for …lakeshore gold for decades.  The following real estate advertisement, published in 2007, boasted of a “mother lode” and captures the reality that for some, lakeshore life is mostly about making money.” [page 206]


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PHOTO BANNER : In its section on wetland vegetation, Chapter 9 describes canoeing into cattails (Typhus latifolia) as a "rubbery collision. Chapter 2 explains the process of "kettle birthing," the geological how and why this "Otter Pond" in Standish, Maine came into being. Not until Chapter 8 is its "plumbing system," explained, that which accounts for its ultra pure water and reflective surface. Chapter 6 tells the story of Charles Whittlesey. He's the book's hero not only because he was the first to interpret kettles correctly, but because his life story -- soldier, lawyer, editor, and glacial geologist -- ended where I began. Chapter 10 explains how we're loving lakes too much, in this case Lake Itasca. The pipe you see is the first to pollute not only the lake, but the entire Mississippi River system. Molecules of persistent pharmaceuticals in a toilet flush from Douglas Lodge on the shore may reach the Gulf of Mexico.