Winner of the 2019 Thomas Wolfe Memorial Literary Award.
An icon of the Southern Appalachian region known for the seminal books Camping and Woodcraft and Our Southern Highlanders, Horace Kephart was instrumental in efforts to help protect the Smokies as a national park and establish the Appalachian Trail through North Carolina and Tennessee. He wrote of his personal commitment: "I owe my life to these mountains, and I want them preserved so that others may profit from them."
The culmination of decades of tireless research and devoted scholarship, Back of Beyond: A Horace Kephart Biography is the compelling story of this librarian-turned-woodsman who had a far-reaching effect on wilderness literature and outdoor pursuits throughout North America. Authors Ellison and McCue reveal Kephart's fall from grace, the depths of his despair, his complicated private life, and his fortitude in forging a new existence in the Great Smoky Mountains. They do this through in-depth historical research and an exploration of Kephart's own major writings on frontier history, camping, and woodcraft, and the lives of his neighbors on Hazel Creek, his personal back of beyond in the Smokies.