All stories have a beginning; mine has its roots somewhere in the farm fields and woods of my book-filled childhood home in rural upstate New York, where, in the fifth grade, I discovered Walden on the shelves of our local one-room library. I’ve been chasing words and ideas ever since.
Along the way I’ve worked as a woodcutter, ditch-digger, teacher, photographer, carpenter, technical writer, stone mason, and in science communications. I eventually went on to earn an MA and PhD in history from Cornell University, and afterwards was an A.W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. I now write.
I write about all sorts of things—from fatherhood and cancer to monkey wrenches and trees and landscape photography. My first book, This Radical Land: A Natural History of American Dissent, was published in March, 2018, by the University of Chicago Press. Ultimately my thoughts always return to the hold the past has on the present and the way that we shape both to fit the world we want to inhabit. I’d like that world to be green, healthy, just, and free, for me as well as for you.
I live in the woods, in a small hilltown of Western Massachusetts, with my wife, two perfect, feral boys, and a roost-ruling cat.
Photography courtesy of Talia Miller