Mavericks, Mystics, and Misfits
Americans Against the Grain
This book takes readers on a journey across American history, colonial period to present, through life stories of exceptional men and women who responded in unconventional ways to the challenges and circumstances of their time and place.
The journey begins in New England, where the country’s roots were planted. It visits America’s war of independence, then follows the path of westward migration, in one chapter telling the story of midwesterner Josiah Gregg. Manifest Destiny lured Gregg to follow the Santa Fe Trail west to California, where he went north to Weaverville, leading the first party of Euro-Americans to travel west to the coast, where they discovered Humboldt Bay. Greg died trying to get to San Francisco, but his writings were published in that city’s newspapers, precipitating a second California Gold Rush to the wilds of Humboldt and Trinity.
It explores the struggle over slavery and the impact of the industrial revolution on the quality of American life. Chapters on the twentieth century take up the issues of war, alienation, and social inequity that haunt the American dream. A chapter explores the life of monk and mystic Thomas Merton, pacifist and social activist, who saw California’s Lost Coast while visiting a Humboldt monastery. His writings about it sparked the movement to save those lands and virgin forests.
The journey ends as we wrestle with the challenge of climate change and its implications for our economic system and agriculture. Each chapter details a life that shaped and changed America’s destiny.
2020, 288 pages, 6” x 9”. Published by Sunbury Press.
ISBN 978-1-62006-241-8, trade paper