An Island Out of Time by Tom Horton
A Memoir of Smith Island in the Chesapeake

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Smith Island is a marshy archipelago in mid-Chesapeake Bay, nine miles from the mainland, home to 150 watermen and their families. This book is a portrait of a people who have remained intimately connected to the place in which they live, far past the time when "place" and "nature" any longer have immediate consequence to most of our lives. Tom Horton lived for nearly three years on Smith Island, recording through observation and interviews the traditions of oystering, crab catching, churchgoing, hunting and poaching, and the social rituals of these fiercely independent men and women. His beautifully elegiac story is about community and isolation, harvest and exploitation, and the risks and charms of being different from the surrounding world. Like Ian Frazier's The Great Plains, this is a book that grows from a vast and unique geography. The grassy shallows and the hidden bottoms of Smith Island, and of the Chesapeake, once supported a variety of waterfowl and marine life that astonished the early explorers. The decline of these natural wonders and the attempt to restore the health of Chesapeake Bay is one part of the story; the other is an effort to give voice to a distinctive people whose three centuries of working and being constitute an eloquent statement of humans in nature.

About Tom Horton

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Tom Horton has taught history for over thirty years, and he has published hundreds of newspaper columns on local topics. He's also been a guest speaker at more than a hundred events across South Carolina. Few people tell a story the way that he does, and few know the Carolina lore that Horton so richly weaves into his historical narratives. He's a colorful writer and a polished speaker. Tom Horton did his undergraduate work at The Citadel and earned his doctoral degree at U.S.C. He has taught European History at Porter-Gaud School for twenty-six years.
Published June 1, 1996 by W W Norton & Co Inc. 316 pages
Genres: History, Education & Reference, Nature & Wildlife, Travel, Science & Math, Biographies & Memoirs. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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A lush, intimate portrait of Smith Island, Chesapeake Bay, from Horton (Bay Country, 1987, etc.).

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Publishers Weekly

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Lying 10 miles off Maryland's eastern shore, Smith Island has been a fishing community for more than 300 years.

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