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The last of the mountain men

Author: Harold Peterson
Publisher: New York : Charles Scribner's Sons, [1969]
Edition/Format:   Print book : Biography : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
In a nearly impenetrable mountain fastness in Idaho there thrives today an extraordinary human anachronism. His name is Sylvan Hart. His lineage is pre-Revolutionary, his way of life 18th century. Hart, now in his sixties, makes, grows, mines, or hunts virtually everything he needs. For Hart has refined the techniques of surviving comfortably and fruitfully in the wilderness to a high art. The creative by-products  Read more...
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Additional Physical Format: Online version:
Peterson, Harold, 1939-
Last of the mountain men.
New York, Scribner [1969]
(OCoLC)654553506
Named Person: Sylvan Hart; Sylvan Hart
Material Type: Biography
Document Type: Book
All Authors / Contributors: Harold Peterson
ISBN: 0684139618 9780684139616
OCLC Number: 11046
Description: 160 pages : illustrations, maps (on lining papers), portraits ; 25 cm
Responsibility: Harold Peterson.

Abstract:

In a nearly impenetrable mountain fastness in Idaho there thrives today an extraordinary human anachronism. His name is Sylvan Hart. His lineage is pre-Revolutionary, his way of life 18th century. Hart, now in his sixties, makes, grows, mines, or hunts virtually everything he needs. For Hart has refined the techniques of surviving comfortably and fruitfully in the wilderness to a high art. The creative by-products of his leisure are almost infinite in their number and variety. His blacksmith shop alone has more handmade tools than the author could catalog. His collection of hand-wrought, hand-bored muzzle-loading rifles comprises an exquisite display of the gunsmith's craft and a practical necessity as well. Hart's retreat to the wilderness as a young man followed a family tradition that the male members spend a year in the woods. There he found the challenges of self-sufficiency and the satisfactions of the various crafts he has developed were, for him, the only way to live. No misanthrope (not even a woman hater" "I still haven't found the right one."), Hart instead feels sorry for those who must exist amidst the mounting ills of city and suburb. He is an articulate, literate man, with a quick sense of humor and an enormous relish for a life keenly attuned to nature's changes, both subtle and violent. To the isolated, often harsh, yet always beautiful environment he has chosen, Hart's adaptation has been perfect. Born in Oklahoma, he drifts about the West after high school, prospecting for gold and holding down odd jobs. He then took an engineering degree in college before embarking on his stint in the woods, where he has become an amalgam of the longshoreman-turned-philosopher Eric Hoffer and Thoreau, living in 1969 in a Robinson-Crusoe-like compound on the clear, cold waters of the River of No Return. Besides the ingenuity of his mode of existence and the perfection of his artifacts, Sylvan Hart is fascinating from still another aspect. For his is a living, vocal link with the lore and legend of an all but vanished era of the American West, the Gold Rush days, with the boomtowns--now turned ghost towns--and the escapades of the era's notorious badmen. Many of the stories in the book the author tracked down himself. The Last of the Mountain Men is a strongly felt chronicle of a unique way of life in an urbanizing society. In sharing Hart's deeply held values at first hand, the author affirms anew the importance to all Americans of their nearly forgotten natural heritage.

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