An Island Out of Time: A Memoir of Smith Island in the Chesapeake

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W. W. Norton & Company, 1996 - History - 316 pages
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Smith Island is a marshy archipelago in mid-Chesapeake Bay, nine miles from the mainland, home to 150 watermen and their families. This book is a portrait of a people who have remained intimately connected to the place in which they live, far past the time when "place" and "nature" any longer have immediate consequence to most of our lives. Tom Horton lived for nearly three years on Smith Island, recording through observation and interviews the traditions of oystering, crab catching, churchgoing, hunting and poaching, and the social rituals of these fiercely independent men and women. His beautifully elegiac story is about community and isolation, harvest and exploitation, and the risks and charms of being different from the surrounding world. Like Ian Frazier's The Great Plains, this is a book that grows from a vast and unique geography. The grassy shallows and the hidden bottoms of Smith Island, and of the Chesapeake, once supported a variety of waterfowl and marine life that astonished the early explorers. The decline of these natural wonders and the attempt to restore the health of Chesapeake Bay is one part of the story; the other is an effort to give voice to a distinctive people whose three centuries of working and being constitute an eloquent statement of humans in nature.
 

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An island out of time: a memoir of Smith Island in the Chesapeake

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In 1987, Horton, a former environmental correspondent and now a columnist for the Baltimore Sun, moved his family to Smith Island in Chesapeake Bay for a two-year stay. During that time, he was deeply ... Read full review

Contents

INTRODUCTION
3
Light and DarkA Matter of Balance
14
Conservationist of me Year
54
Praggers
67
WOMENS WORK
79
Born to Longbrancn
111
What They Came For
123
Hunters
130
The Wardens Story
141
CHURCH
177
ISLAND LIFE
199
YARNIN
237
BOATS
259
The Islands Futureand Ours
303
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About the author (1996)

Tom Horton has written numerous books about the Chesapeake Bay. He lives in Riverton, Maryland.

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