Brush Cat: On Trees, the Wood Economy, and the Most Dangerous Job in America

Jack McEnany, Author . St. Martin’s $24.95 (226p) ISBN 978-0-312-36891-3

McEnany (coauthor of Bode ) offers a spirited account of life among the burly, hard-living men who log New England’s timberlands that’s part self-deprecating memoir (he’s a self-admitted klutz around chainsaws) and part serious study of both the ubiquity of wood in contemporary America and the future of domestic logging in the Atlantic Northeast. The good news is that the eastern forests continue to be a valuable renewable resource when logged with sustainability in mind, reports the author. The bad news: sprawling development, increasingly onerous governmental regulations, climate change and the consequent truncated logging season are all gnawing at the loggers’ precarious livelihood. Unlike the forests of the West, where mechanized logging is the norm and huge swaths of forests are clear-cut indiscriminately, New England woodlots are almost all privately owned land of 25 acres or less, and logging is done by the “Brush Cats”—independent, self-sufficient woodsmen, who are said to have the most dangerous job in America and are profiled with a mix of comic hyperbole, measured awe and deep affection in this loquacious study. (Mar.)

Reviewed on: 12/15/2008
Release date: 03/01/2009
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