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An icon of the Southern Appalachian region known for the seminal books Camping and Woodcraft and Our Southern Highlanders, Horace Kephart was instrumental in efforts to create a national park in the Smokies and to establish the Appalachian Trail through North Carolina and Tennessee. This is the behind-the-scenes story of a librarian-turned-woodsman who had a far-reaching effect on wilderness literature and outdoor pursuits throughout North America. "This long-awaited biography of Horace Kephart is so well written and informative that one reads it with the pleasure of a riveting novel and an admiration reserved for the finest scholarship. Back of Beyond is a triumph." Ron Rash, author of Serena "With affection and candor, McCue and Ellison reveal an intimate knowledge of Kephart's ancestry, education, marriage, and career, his place in American literature and history, and his part in the founding of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park." Robert Morgan, author of Boone: A Biography "This meticulously researched and carefully considered book is a great contribution to the history and culture of the Southern Appalachians." Charles Frazier, author of Cold Mountain, winner of the National Book Award for Fiction George Ellison has written extensively about Horace Kephart and was designated one of the 100 most influential people in the history of Great Smoky Mountains National Park. In 2012 he won the Wild South Roosevelt-Ashe award for "Outstanding Journalism in Conservation." Janet McCue, an independent writer and researcher, has collaborated with Ellison and others on many Kephart projects. Her writing and research reveal Kephart's multi-faceted life as student, husband, father, librarian, writer, and public figure. She is the former director of Mann Library at Cornell University. All proceeds from the sale of this book will benefit the educational, historical, and scientific programs of Great Smoky Mountains National Park.--George Ellison and Janet McCue.
About the Author
Writer-naturalist George Ellison has lived near Bryson City, North Carolina, since 1973. He has written extensively about Great Smoky Mountains National Park and Horace Kephart. For more than 30 years he conducted natural history workshops for the park's Smoky Mountain Field School. As part of the park's centennial celebration, Ellison was designated one of the "the 100 most influential people in the history of Great Smoky Mountains National Park." Since 1987, he has written the Nature Journal column for the Asheville Citizen-Times in Asheville, North Carolina. In 2012 he won the Wild South Roosevelt-Ashe award for "Outstanding Journalism in Conservation." In 2016 he and his wife, the artist Elizabeth Ellison, were named "Blue Ridge Naturalists of the Year." Ellison lives in Bryson City, North Carolina. Janet McCue is a writer, researcher, and avid hiker. She and George Ellison have collaborated on several other Kephart publications, including the introduction to Camping and Woodcraft (2011) and the biographical chapter in the Horace Kephart: Writings (2020). McCue's interest in Kephart began with backpacking trips in the Smokies in the 1970s and continued throughout her career as a librarian at Cornell University, where she specialized in library administration and digital library development--a career that took her all over the world. Like Kephart, McCue believes that "librarianship offers a better field for mental gymnastics than any other profession." McCue lives in the Finger Lakes region of upstate New York, writing regularly about the beauty and bounty of the area.