• Book

The living Great Lakes : searching for the heart of the inland seas

by Dennis, Jerry.

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Where To Find It

Call number: 977 De, Display

Additional Details

Includes index.

Community Reviews

Highly recommended!

This book weaves together history, and ecology in a fascinating way. I learned a lot while reading this, while at the same time being entertained by the adventures the author recounted from his experience on the Great Lakes. I came away with a much deeper appreciation and understanding of our Great Lakes. The book is not only interesting, but informative. The author has a interesting way of educating the reader about the ecosystem and environmental challenges faced today. Highly recommended!

My book club loved it, too

I was astonished by how much I loved this book.

The author does a fantastic job of mixing the history (old and new) of the Great Lakes with his personal experience living along them, visiting them, and sailing on them. He moves seamlessly from history to encounters. There's everything from the Native Americans who lived alongside, to the lakes' discovery by Europeans, to their use and abuse over the last several hundred years. We hear about the water, the fish, the land, the trees. We "experience" the wind and waves, the locks between lakes, and the Erie Canal.

This definitely isn't my usual kind of book, but I highly recommend it to anyone who lives (or has lived) along any of the Great Lakes. Fascinating reading.

ETA: Re-read with my book club in Feb. 2013. I recommended it to the group, and was pleased that we had seven "thumbs up" and one "thumb in the middle." This was also the Ann Arbor/ Ypsilanti Reads book for 2010. Still incredibly informative, and really makes me pay attention to and appreciate the amazing resource that is the fresh water resource around us.

Welcome Taste of Home

I'm so glad Ann Arbor/Ypsi reads chose this book, and even though I didn't make it to any of the events, I did see this book displayed in the downtown branch in April 2010. I picked it up, and it turned out to be the last book I read before embarking upon a 3-month stay in a foreign county. As someone who has lived almost all of my life in the shadow of Lake Michigan (well, okay, maybe just most of it by this point), it was wonderful to get a firm sense of home before leaving for such a long time.

It certainly didn't hurt that the book was so clearly a labor of love, either. I felt that Jerry Dennis did a very good job blending history, sailing know-how, and environmentalism into a compelling narrative. I do believe that I was naturally inclined to look upon the book more favorably given my personal situation at the time of reading it, but it was a bit like chicken soup, and there's nothing wrong with enjoying a bit of that sometime, is there? Recommended for lovers of the Great Lakes.

jumps around a lot

This book tells the story of a crew sailing the Malabar from Grand Traverse Bay (on Lake Michigan) to a harbor in Maine -- through 4 of the 5 Great Lakes, part of the Erie Canal, the Hudson River, and on into the Atlantic.

My husband enjoyed the languid pace of the writing. I don't really have an opinion (positive or negative) on the pacing, but I got really annoyed at how the book jumps back and forth. The author will be writing about their journey, then he'll jump into some treatise on historical French explorers, or some explanation of invasive species or environmental damage, and eventually come back to the journey - all within one chapter. And a few times, the journey narrative didn't even seem strictly chronological. I found myself skipping those sections to finish up the journey storyline, then backtracking to read the tangents. I might have enjoyed the book more if he would have alternated chapters - narrative, historical/ecological - rather than interspersing snippets. Don't get me wrong, I found the history and science sections quite interesting (especially as I know very little about the history of this area, since I didn't grow up here), but the jumping around almost made me crazy at times.

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