2008 The Survival of the Bark Canoe (John McPhee)

One hundred and fifty years ago, Henry David Thoreau began his third excursion into the Maine Woods, arriving in Bangor, Maine. In the fall of 2008, more than 350 first year Honors students arrived in Orono, Maine having spent a part of their summer exploring the Maine Woods with one of Thoreau’s worthy heirs, John McPhee.

Excerpts from the letter of transmittal written by the students who chose the text:

McPhee’s book offers a fresh perspective on life. He tells a candid story of people caught between old and new cultures. An inspiring piece of work, this book will stick with you throughout your future experiences. The descriptions and perceptive nature of his writing make you feel that this is more than a story; it is a metaphor of a journey to which we can all relate.

Mimi Killinger, the Rezendes Preceptor for the Arts, explains her reason for nominating the book:

I’ve admired John McPhee’s writing for a long time, and when I came across The Survival of the Bark Canoe, I thought it seemed so fitting for University of Maine readers- especially students. Perhaps Honors students will not only be introduced to (or reacquainted with) a remarkable writer, but they may also be inspired to do some paddling.