A Handmade Wilderness

Front Cover
Houghton Mifflin, 1996 - Nature - 283 pages
In 1968, at the height of the civil rights struggle, two young men - one black, the other white - quixotically decided to buy eighty backwoods acres in southern Mississippi, little realizing that they were embarking on the greatest adventure of their lives. Don Schueler's account of the twenty-five years that followed, during which he and Willie Brown transformed and enlarged their much-abused "least worst land" into a wild Eden, is a modern saga, by turns suspenseful, wildly funny, and deeply moving. Hostile poachers, woods fires, and a monster hurricane were just some of the challenges Don and Willie faced. And two-footed and four-footed neighbors such as Hovit, the one-eyed moonshiner; the Downstairs Armadillo; the Cogitating Deer; the boy who loved horses; and Fafnir, the alligator, were only a few of the memorable characters who enlivened and sometimes complicated their lives. But perhaps the most unforgettably realized presence is that of the land itself, Don and Willie's beloved Place, which they restored so successfully that in 1993 it became the Nature Conservancy's Willie Farrell Brown Reserve. A Handmade Wilderness is a different sort of back-to-the-land story, as inspiring as Living the Good Life and as entertaining as All Creatures Great and Small. Anyone who has ever dreamed of owning a place where he or she could live in harmony with the natural world will be enthralled by this celebration of two people's determination to make that dream come true.

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A HANDMADE WILDERNESS: Two Lives on a Broken Land

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The beautifully drawn and affecting story of Schueler's (The Temple of the Jaguar, 1993, etc.) efforts to reclaim a devastated piece of the sandhills of Mississippi. Schueler, a white man, and Willie ... Read full review


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