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Beacon Archive

January 2003
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Book Review: The Journal of Beaver Island History Volume 5

Four years after the appearance of Volume 4, the next edition in this series (which was instigated by the Bicentennial Committee) has appeared, generating glowing reviews. Many of the articles focus on the dangers of living here, on the fickleness of the weather (which produced a litany of shipwrecks or required such extraordinary measures as hauling the mail by sled across the ice.) Even the obligatory article on Strang picked up this theme, because his demise was facilitated by the arrival of the Michigan and took place on a dock over the water, not on Beaver's soil. This article recounts the Mormon experience from the viewpoint of Warren Post, through the journal he kept, and puts those times in an interesting light that differs from the usual historic overview.

Two of the articles are transcribed from tape recordings. One of them, Robert Cole's interview of Marguerite Mulligan, is from the initial Oral History project, and demonstrates its value. The other, of our former Postmaster Frank Nackerman, a wonderful natural storyteller, was a kind of afterthought, suggested after early drafts were circulated to the editorial committee. Telling about one particular extended, almost unending crossing of the ice, it was a perfect thematic match.

Other articles focus on the way life was lived here, at Nomad, in the Sybil and Art Larsen home, on a fish boat, or in Mrs. Redding's cabin. After an informative essay on our loons, the concluding article muses about the influence of the Celtic spirit on Beaver Island today. The over four hundred people who have read this book since its appearance in August agree that it adds to their appreciation of Beaver Island's rich and still-vibrant heritage.

Copies of this 224-page paperback are available for $15 (including tax and postage) from the Beaver Island Historical Society, Box 263, Beaver Island Michigan 49782.

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