THE COAST by Joseph J. Thorndike


A Journey Down the Atlantic Shore
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 A well-written travelogue from a founding editor of American Heritage who drove the length of the East Coast with frequent stops to walk the beaches and talk with natives. Thorndike's record of the journey--actually, several trips over a period of years--takes him down the coast from Maine to Key West. Along the way, he visits the top of Manhattan's Twin Towers and Virginia's Chincoteague Island; Maine lobstermen tell of mysterious winter fires in the houses of summer people; and Coast Guard officers tell of rescuing boaters in the waters off the Virginia Capes. The early explorers are all mentioned here-- Champlain, Hudson, Verrazano, and many less famous--as are the planners and developers, from Robert Moses of New York to Henry M. Flagler, who built the railroad to the Florida Keys. Thorndike applauds the work of conservationists and shows what nature can do to an overbuilt shore-front, whether by the slow death of erosion or by the hammer blow of a Hurricane Hugo. And he's eloquent in his plea that the coastline be kept open to all instead of being fenced off and guarded, as over 90 percent of it already is. An effective combination of eyeball observation, rich history, and sad acknowledgement of how poorly we have used still another national resource. (Line drawings--not seen.)

Pub Date: March 25th, 1993
ISBN: 0-312-08700-4
Page count: 256pp
Publisher: St. Martin's
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 1st, 1993