An American Map.

Position:Book review

Anne-Marie Oomen (author); AN AMERICAN MAP; Wayne State University Press () $18.95 ISBN: 9780814334201

We often take our geography for granted, even when traveling. We look where the guidebook points and stick close to the hotels and clearly marked trails. But the line of a river, the cleft of a hill, pale lines of quartz running through graniteathese features of the natural world can inform and enlighten as well as a history pamphlet, and deserve the notice many people tend to withhold from habit.

Nature, in Anne-Marie Oomenas eyes, isnat something to be revered from the safety of tour bus windows. She and her husband, David, traverse parts of the country with steadfast courage and treat their mistakes, like wading too deeply into a powerful tide, as moments to learn from. They push their bodies, their minds, and their souls through tough patches of trailalike the Appalachian Trailain pursuit of experience and in the hope that a little more understanding of their world might sift up through the molding leaves and packed dirt. Oomen, writing instructor and author of several books, pays close attention also to the people she encounters, both on her travels to far-flung spots like El Yunque and on trips to different libraries in her own state of Michigan. The intersection between people and place is where she finds the real story.

One of Oomenas...

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