Wheelers Books
The Paradise of All These Parts: A Natural History of Boston

The Paradise of All These Parts: A Natural History of Boston (Hardback)

By Mitchell, John

  • RRP: $59.99
  • $59.99
  • Temporarily out of stock

In 1614, explorer John Smith sailed into what was to become Boston Harbor and referred to the wild lands and waters around him as the Paradise of all these parts. Within fifteen years, the Puritans were developing the tadpole-shaped Shawmut Peninsula, as members of the Massachuse...tt tribe fled. Now, nearly four hundred years later, one must wonder what remains of John Smith's Paradise. Equipped with wit, intellect, and an innate curiosity about people and places, John Hanson Mitchell strolls through Boston's streets, chronicling the nonhuman inhabitants and surprisingly diverse plant life, as well as the eccentric characters he meets at various turns. Using his modern observations as a starting point, he tells the fascinating stories of the tribal leaders, naturalists, community activists, and organizations who worked to preserve nature in the city over generations, from the Victory Gardens of the Fenway to the expansive woods of Franklin Park. But much of the history is in the land itself. As he battles traffic on notorious Route 128, Mitchell considers the ancient origins of the rocks that line the highway and those that form the city's foundation. A walk across Boston Common calls to mind the Tremount Hills, flattened by seventeenth-century newcomers; only Beacon Hill remains. A stroll through the Back Bay allows Mitchell to imagine the Charles River, so polluted by sewage that it became a public nuisance and was partially covered over with a massive nineteenth-century landfill. With this natural history in mind, Mitchell explores both ancient and new green space from Chelsea to South Boston, including the greenway formed by the Big Dig. Endlessly readable and full ofpersonality, The Paradise of All These Parts offers Boston visitors and residents alike a whole new perspective on one of America's oldest cities. Hands-on and eloquent - a lover's rhapsody. --Edward Hoagland A wonderful, surprising, and gracefully written exploration of Boston's true nature. If you love this city, you will love this book. --Eric Jay Dolin, author of LEVIATHAN: The History of Whaling in America A wonderful piece of work: lively, thought-provoking and totally absorbing. The city of Boston has been chopped to pieces, riddled with tunnels, and surrounded by fill, but as Mitchell reveals in The Paradise of All These Parts, it is still a place of wonder. --Nathaniel Philbrick, author of MAYFLOWER: A Story of Courage, Community, and War Like Vladimir Nabokov, John Hanson Mitchell is a writer with an eye for nature's curious details, rather than a naturalist who practices writing. His new natural history of Boston is actually more a history of naturalists, explorers, conservationists and others at play on nature's grand stage with lots of juicy subplots and a large cast of engaging eccentrics. Irresistible. --Christopher W. Leahy, Gerard A. Bertrand Chair of Natural History and Field Ornithology, Massachusetts Audubon Society, and author of The Birdwatcher's Companion to North American Birdlife, Peterson First Guide to Insects of North America, and more The history of urban areas is often framed as the march of human mastery: culture replacing nature tree by tree. John Hanson Mitchell tells the story of how geology, nature, Natives and new arrivals have continually made and remade the place we call Boston. His amiable tale rambles easily from rocksto rivers to red light districts, interweaving natural and human history in a way that's quietly but deeply meaningful. --Ginger Strand, author of Inventing Niagara: Beauty, Power, and Lies There is plenty of history, natural and otherwise, in The Paradise of All These Parts, but there is also wit, narrative, and vision. Like Thoreau, Mitchell has a genius for sauntering, and I can't imagine a better rambling companion. As we stroll through Boston with him, he points out the place's deep history, its returning wildness, its migrating birds and flowering plantts, and of course, since this is Mitchell, its quirky characters. The journey is a grand success, and John Hanson Mitchell proves once again that he is one of our very finest writers about place. --David Gessner, author of Soaring with Fidel: An Osprey Odyssey from Cape Cod to Cuba and Beyond
Read more

ISBN 9780807071489
Released NZ 1 Sep 2008
Publisher Misc - United Book Distributor
Format Hardback
Alternate Format(s) View All (1 other possible title(s) available)
Title is temporarily out of stock

Full details for this title

ISBN-13 9780807071489
Stock Available
Status Title is temporarily out of stock
Publisher Misc - United Book Distributor
Imprint Beacon Press
Released 1 Sep 2008
Publication Country United States United States
Format Hardback
 › 1 other possible formats available
Author(s) By Mitchell, John
Category American History
Places & Peoples: General Interest
Number of Pages 256
Dimensions Width: 162mm
Height: 223mm
Spine: 25mm
Dewey Code 508.74461
Weight 472g
Interest Age General Audience
Reading Age General Audience
Library of Congress Natural history - Massachusetts - Boston, Boston (Mass.) - History, Urban ecology (Sociology) - Massachusetts - Boston, Boston, Boston (Mass.)
NBS Text Environment & Ecology: General Interest
ONIX Text General/trade