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


  • Read - An overview provided by the University of Connecticut.
  • Watch - A two minute book-talk by the author.
  • Listen - To interviews from National Public Radio's All Things Considered with Tom Crann in Minneapolis) and Here & Now with Robin Young in Boston.

I read my ideas about Lake Wobegon to an audience in Garrsion Keillor's bookstore (Common Good Books) in downtown Saint Paul, Minnesota

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 ."


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PHOTO BANNER : This book is a melange of topics woven into one narrative. Walden Pond in Concord, Massachusetts, is a classic New England kettle lake (yes, it's a lake) and was the epicenter of 19th century Transcendentalism. Main Street in Saulk Centre, Minnesota was the archetype for the small towns of Middle America that were scathingly dissected by Nobel Prize-winner Sinclair Lewis in his 1920 novel, "Main Street." The historic Palmer House Cafe on "Main Street," foreshadows Garrison Keillor's Chatterbox Cafe, which is set only a few miles away in a very similar town with a very similar main street and with very similar architecture set against a very similar lake. That's me swimming at Union Lake, Minnesota in 1956, making memories for the 2009 memoir that is losely threaded through "Beyond Walden." Fronting the fictional Hooch Lake in Akeley, Minnesota is a "herd" of oil tanks (with holes that probably leaked oil into the sand between the lakes (A very weather-beaten mannequin Santa is hidden in the background).