The eminent American historian grew up in a protected/isolated small town in western Michigan synchronous with the turn of the century and extending, as he went off to Oberlin, into World War I. A firm but kind father (who appears here almost as frequently as young Carton while other members of his family are scarcely mentioned) and a moral, fundamentalist frame of reference place this retrospective within the lengthening reach of the old frontier where once familiar landmarks (steamers, trains, summer hotels, the wilderness itself) became the casualties of modern times. ""We lived in Indian summer and mistook it for spring."" There are the usual wholesome outdoor activities -- swimming, fishing, but no baseball -- there weren't enough youngsters to make up two teams. Quite a bit of this deals with the local logging and lumbering (you may find it a lot of wood to cut) and another dimming enterprise -- the ""archaic"" academe of former college Benzonia where he studied and his father taught. Occasionally there's a little philosophical distancing-forward to all this backward-glancing -- was it a truly freer and better way of life? In any case he preserves its simpler, self-sufficient character without retouching it, or so it would seem.