A Review of J. Drew Lanham’s The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

the_home_place_overlayBy Amy Wright

“There are still priceless places,” J. Drew Lanham says, “where nature hangs on by tooth, talon, and tendril.” And there remain rare breeds of humans who fall in love with a land darkened by the blood and sweat of ancestors purchased to work it.

Google a list of nature writers and a band of such similar skin tones scrolls across the screen you might be viewing a steadily receding ice cap. I recognized the bias reading Thoreau, Muir, Abbey, Wilson, Dillard, etc. but did not probe the roots of that particular privilege, which itself suggests privilege. My love of nature stems from growing up on a farm that has been in my family for at least six generations, so I hadn’t appreciated before reading The Home Place: Memoirs of a Colored Man’s Love Affair with Nature that legacy could also dissuade a sense of connection. “Conservation is simply…

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