Books

The Pine Barrens  by John McPhee

Farrar, Straus and Giroux 1978 / 157 pages / ISBN-13: 978-0374514426

Contrary to popular opinion, the whole of New Jersey is not a continuous Superfund site enlivened solely by poorly labeled Turnpike exits and skanky diners. In fact, the largest essentially untouched wilderness east of the Mississippi comprises nearly half the state: the New Jersey Pine Barrens. This more than 1,000-square-mile region has only a few thousand inhabitants–the Pineys, whose way of life has remained essentially unchanged since the 17th century. McPhee–one of the finest American essayists of the 20th century–has written an extraordinarily compelling, informative, and insightful book about the botanical, cultural, hydrological, and historical peculiarities of this region. He also details the efforts to save it from the creeping urbanization of nearby Philadelphia and New York City. Very highly recommended.

 

A Field Guide to the Pine Barrens of New Jersey : Its Flora, Fauna, Ecology, and Historic Sites by Howard Boyd

Plexus Publishing 1991 / 423 pages / ISBN-13: 978-0937548196

Author Howard Boyd presents readers with the ultimate handbook to the New Jersey Pine Barrens. While the bulk of the book (over 300 pages) contains listings and illustrations of the plant and animal species that live and grow with the Pine Barrens, Boyd begins his book by explaining and defining what makes this sandy soiled, wooded habitat so diverse and so unusual. But just as the title suggests, the essence of this text is its devotion to identifying, classifying, characterizing and illustrating every living creature, from the whirligig beetle to the large-toothed aspen, that makes its home in the Pine Barrens. Over 700 species, listed first under their common then scientific nomenclatures, are included. Each entry gives a detailed, non-technical description of a Pine Barren plant or animal, indicating when and where it is most likely to appear. Complementing most listings is an original ink drawing that will greatly aid the reader in the field as they search for and try to identify specific flora and fauna.

 

Iron in the Pines by Arthur Pierce

Rutgers University Press / 268 pages / ISBN-13: 978-0813505145

Each year, people by the thousands visit Batsto Village, once the center of the iron industry that thrived on the tract more than a century ago. With warmth and accuracy, Arthur D. Pierce tells the story of the years when iron was king, and around it rose a rustic feudal economy. There were glass factories, paper mills, cotton mills, and brickmaking establishments. Here, too, were men who made those years exciting: Benedict Arnold and his first step toward treason; Charles Read, who dreamed of an empire and died in exile; Revolutionary heroes and heroines, privateers, and rogues. The author’s vivid pictures of day-to-day life in the old iron communities are based upon careful research. This book proves that the human drama of documented history belies any notion that fiction is stranger than truth.

 


Jersey Genesis by Henry Charlton Beck

Rutgers University Press / 334 pages / ISBN-13: 978-0813510156

This is without a doubt the most personal of all of Henry Charlton Beck’s books about New Jersey; it is truly a labor of love. The book is a slow, sentimental journey up the river, from Barnegat Bay to the Forks up past Batsto and Atsion to Berlin, though he is most fond of the section between Chestnut Neck and Batsto. He writes of boatbuilders, fishermen, moss gatherers, and the last generation of salt hay farmers. He has known these people for years and tells their stories well. He also relates historical information – about near forgotten towns like Herman City, Bulltown, and Crowleytown as well as past events when the Mullica was an important shipping point.

 

Paddling the New Jersey Pine Barrens by Robert Parnes

Falcon / 192 pages / ISBN-13: 978-0762722952

Explore the diverse natural wonders of the Jersey Pine Barrens, the unique ecosystem covering more than a million acres in southern New Jersey. From easy afternoon paddles to extended trips deep into remote wilderness areas, Paddling the Jersey Pine Barrens takes canoeists and kayakers on a journey through the state’s most spectacular landscape. Included are waterways known for their scenery, historical importance, and wildlife. In addition to detailed river descriptions, there is extensive information about the region’s geological, social, environmental, and botanical history.Paddling the Jersey Pine Barrens is designed to help you select the best of the waterways that course through the Pinelands. Inside you’ll find: an overview of what to expect and how to prepare; detailed maps showing access points and routes; information on each waterway’s character, difficulty, and the best times to paddle; lists of local paddling organizations and information resources.

 

Chaseworld: Foxhunting and Storytelling in New Jersey’s Pine Barrens by Mary T. Hufford

University of Pennsylvania Press / 240 pages / ISBN-13: 978-0812213591

Chaseworld is a study of the foxhunters in the Pine Barrens of Southern New Jersey. Mary Hufford examines the activities that occur before, during, and after foxchases and analyzes the stories that hunters tell about chases. Through these activities and narratives, she contends, Pine Barrens foxhunters have collaboratively constructed an alternate reality—the Chaseworld.

 

Natural Wonders of the Jersey Pines and Shore by Robert A. Peterson

Plexus Publishing / 296 pages / ISBN-13: 978-0937548486

Natural Wonders Of The Jersey Pines And Shores by the late educator, journalist, historian, and sportsman Robert A. Peterson (1956-2003) covers a diversity of topics drawn from the unique Pine Barrens and coastal ecosystems of New Jersey including the flora, fauna, geological formations, and natural forces of the area. Much of the material was adapted from his regular newspaper column in “The Egg Harbor News”. The informed and informative text is wonderfully enhanced with the nature photography of Michael A. Hogan and Steve Greer. This posthumous publication of Robert Peterson’s Natural Wonders Of The Jersey Pines And Shores is a welcome contribution by a gifted writer whose “insatiable curiosity about nature and history” make the New Jersey Pine Barrens and beaches a truly engaging read from beginning to end for the non-specialist general reader as well as the student of nature’s ecosystems.