Peter Stark

The Last Empty Places

A Past and Present Journey Through the Blank Spots on the American Map

Ballantine, May 2010

THE LAST EMPTY PLACES is far more than a first-person journey to the last remaining portions of the American wilderness — though it will be that, too.

Rather, THE LAST EMPTY PLACES is a book about how the American wilderness (and our ideas about wilderness) has shaped our national character; how those ideas, like the wilderness itself, have evolved throughout our history; what remains of the American wilderness today; and about the vital place that the American wilderness, actual and idealized, continues to occupy in our hearts.

To explore these themes, Peter will take us on a journey to the most remote spots in the Continental U.S. — and simultaneously, on a journey of historical discovery to the wilderness of our forefathers. We’ll go from the Minnesota log cabin where Peter grew up, to the Maine woods of Thoreau; from the swamp that likely swallowed up the lost colony of Roanoke, to Coronado’s fabled cities of gold in the Southwestern desert. We’ll visit the most remote portions of the Oregon trail, the Big Open of Montana, the desolate shores of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and a little-known region of Pennsylvania that is still, incredibly, one of the “whitest” blank spots on the American map.

THE LAST EMPTY PLACES promises to win the hearts of readers who are seeking to recapture the spirit of the great American wilderness that lives within us all.