Many thanks to my friend Harry Vanderweide for this wonderful review of my new book, Maine Sporting Camps, published by Down East Books. Here is Harry’s review.
George Smith’s new book, Maine Sporting Camps, is a lollapalooza! And that’s not hyperbole. A plethora of Maine guidebooks have been published during recent decades. Some quite good. But Smith’s latest tome establishes a new level of competence for the genre.
In simplest terms, a guidebook is a compilation of facts helping you find and enjoy an activity. Smith’s book accomplishes that job with ease and clarity, reporting on the attractions, amenities, services, seasons and times of operation each camp offers. In fact, if that were all it contains, it would still be a damn fine book.
As commonly used, guidebooks are skimmed by readers, flipping quickly page-to-page, looking for specific information. That’s where Smith’s book proves exceptional. Reading this book you’ll want to find a comfortable chair and plan to spend serious time, so delightfully does it report on these landmark places.
Smith’s knowledge of Maine’s people and outdoors is outstanding. The fact is he’s visited many of the camps listed and talked with dozens of owners and operators found in this book.
Smith, formerly executive director of the Sportsman’s Alliance of Maine, now co-hosts the Maine conservation-focused TV show Wildfire. He’s also a columnist for multiple publications, including The Maine Sportsman. His wide-ranging interests have led him to becoming an outdoor book author, travel writer and authority on Maine’s best dining experiences. The Maine Sporting Camp book is a natural result of all those interests.
Smith’s many years as a professional writer provided him the ability to add the fine details that lift a guidebook from merely good to excellent. In one part of the book he raves about the gustatory delights of a camp’s dining room and the next provides details about where to find an outstanding birding trail.
The amount of space the book devotes to those knowing Maine’s sporting camps best – the owners and staff – adds depth and authenticity to the information, as well as readability. Smith conducted interviews with camp staffs to provide historic and behind-the-scenes details, then went one better, adding essays written by owners for a rare insight into the reality of running a sporting camp.
There are those who claim you really don’t know the real Maine until you’ve stayed at a sporting camp. Maybe so.
But, for sure, there’s no better source to locate the right one than Maine Sporting Camps. (HPV)
Maine Sporting Camps, By George Smith, 222 pages, Down East Books, $16.95