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The War Against the Beavers Learning to Be Wild in the North Woods by Verena Andermatt Conley

The War Against the Beavers Learning to Be Wild in the North Woods


The War Against the Beavers Learning to Be Wild in the North Woods by Verena Andermatt Conley

A lifelong city dweller, Verena Andermatt Conley had long harbored romantic ideals about the natural world and dreamed of a wilderness retreat for herself and her husband, Tom. When a sizable tract of land along the Vermillion River on the edge of Minnesota's Boundary Waters - complete with two primitive log cabins - became available, they jumped at the chance to own a piece of paradise.The War against the Beavers is a wry and funny account of two people's ten-year apprenticeship in backwoods living, from their arrival as literal babes in the woods to their education in the ways of nature as they face plagues of insects, fungus, storms, and droughts, and embark on a lengthy campaign to eradicate a colony of beavers that threatens the peace and beauty of their forest refuge. It is only the coming of a mechanized and much more menacing threat - bulldozers and other heavy machinery clear-cutting the woods - that restores perspective to the obsessed cabin dwellers.


A great book to read aloud - especially in a car escaping a city. -David Black, award-winning screenwriter, journalist, novelist, and producer This is a fascinating story about the difference between the destructive forces of nature and the destructive forces of humans. It begins with a charming naivete and ends with a clear-eyed wisdom. -Bill McKibben, author of The End of Nature [Verena Conley's] Minnesota Walden is resplendent but also beset by natural and man-made plagues that continually threaten her serenity. The book's wisdom is that it reveals how she finally triumphs over her complex environment by recognizing that for the most part she doesn't have to. -Ross McElwee, director of Sherman's March and Bright Leaves

About the Author

Verena Andermatt Conley was born and raised in Switzerland, where she grew up reading picturesque and adventurous portrayals of the great American wilderness. She lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st May 2005


Verena Andermatt Conley

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University of Minnesota Press


192 pages


Natural history
Autobiography: general



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