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Wilderness and the American Spirit
Wilderness and the American Spirit

Wilderness and the American Spirit



288 Pages, 5.5 x 8.5

Formats: Trade Paper, EPUB

Trade Paper, $18.95 (US $18.95) (CA $24.95)

Publication Date: March 2024

ISBN 9798985652765

Rights: WOR

Overcup Press (Mar 2024)


eBook Editions Available

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Price: $18.95


Wilderness and the American Spirit is a gripping exploration of the American spirit and our relationship to the environment that blends science, history, cultural criticism, and storytelling through the myths and stories of the American West along the Applegate Trail.The book tells a story of expansion of a nation across the continent illuminating the path we took to arrive here, in the 21st century, at the forward edge of environmental catastrophe and consequence.Told through stories of the first American emigrants who traveled west to the present day. These are stories of consumption, wealth and power that illuminate the American relationship to the environment and this storytelling model is a basis for new environmental thinking.


"Ruby McConnell sings a landscape from a place of stillness and reflection, improvising from talismans she finds along the Applegate Trail. Wilderness and the American Spirit is an engaging meditation about the need for a new consciousness between humans and the earth." —Peter Stark, bestselling author of Gallop Toward the Sun, The Last Empty Places and Astoria

"McConnell beautifully muses on the call of the wild, why Americans have answered it over and over again, and the dangers of the myth of wilderness" —Tove Danovich, author of Under the Henfluence 

"McConnell brings myth and legend together with brutal reality, and it works like a charm. Beautiful, rich work from one of America's bright new literary lights."  —Julia Park Tracey, author of The Bereaved 

"A rich and nuanced telling of US ideas about land, the Frontier, identity, and so many of the individual and social experiences that have led us to the difficult moment we live within...we urgently need this kind of great storytelling." —David Syring, Fellow - Institute on the Environment and author of With the Saraguros: The Blended Life in a Transnational World

"The stories of how each of these flawed adventurers brushes up against landscape and culture and moments in time and form a narrative that tells the story of a nation." —Wendy Willis, author of These are Strange Times My Dear: Field Notes from the Republic

"[McConnell] writes with captivating and accessible combination of geology, geography, history and liberatory storytelling that informs and inspires." —Ms. Magazine

Author Biography

Ruby McConnell is a writer, geologist, and environmental activist whose award-winning work has been featured in Ms. Magazine, the Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, and Mother Earth News. She is the author of the critically-acclaimed outdoor series A Woman’s Guide to the Wild and A Girl’s Guide to the Wild and its companion activity book for young adventurers, and Ground Truth: A Geological Survey of a Life, which was a finalist for the 2020 Oregon Book Awards. She lives and writes in the heart of Oregon country. You can almost always find her in the woods - and online