Review of Henry Beston’s Biography

My Review of Henry Beston’s Biography in The Massachusetts Review:

Orion on the Dunes: A Biography of Henry Beston by Daniel G. Payne (David R. Godine, 2016)

Within the protected lands of the Cape Cod National Seashore, in the small salt-box cottage we rent each summer, you step outside into a place that is simply itself. Chickadees cross above you, wind makes paths through crowns of oak and beech. The cottage—in the hold of scrub pine and sea wind—owes no small debt to writer and naturalist Henry Beston, whose magnificent book The Outermost House was one of the influences that inspired President John F. Kennedy to establish the National Seashore in 1961. Beston built his dune shack on the barrier beach at Eastham, back to the marsh, front porch opening on the Atlantic. The Outermost House chronicles the year he spent living on Cape Cod’s outer beach. His lyrical prose, naturalist’s eye, and faith in the restorative powers of the natural world for humankind mark him as a literary descendant of Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau. Rachel Carson credits Beston as the only author who ever influenced her work.   …Read the full review