Minnesota Historical Society

Northern Front: New and Selected Essays

$ 17.95

In places as remote as Alaska’s north slope and as familiar as a midwestern family farm there are tensions that exist between nature and the people who define a given land as home. In sixteen elegant essays, award-winning writer and naturalist John Hildebrand takes a clear-eyed look at how these forces move and change the people and the land.

Hildebrand writes of landscapes in dispute: Native Alaskan groups are pitted against each other over oil development, Hmong emigrants jostle locals in a public hunting ground, farmers battle a formidable company town and city hall. Nature itself is also in flux as timber wolves and sandhill cranes reclaim lost ground and a marine biologist gauges the effect of an invading species on previously undisturbed areas.

A Northern Front reflects the day-by-day disappearance of wild places and the ever-changing face of the American landscape. Hildebrand’s characters are unforgettable, and his stories gracefully capture the spirit of all people who care deeply about the land.

John Hildebrand’sHarper’s Magazine, Audubon, Sports Illustrated, Harrowsmith, and The Missouri Review. He is the author of Mapping the Farm: The Chronicle of a Family (Minnesota Historical Society Press) and Reading the River: A Voyage Down the Yukon. He teaches at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire and has recently built a cabin in northern Wisconsin.


  • By: John Hildebrand
  • Format: Paper or Cloth, 192 pp.
  • Publisher: MNHS Press (Cloth May 2005, Paper Sept. 2017)
  • ISBN Cloth: 0873515285
  • ISBN Paper: 9781681340685

  • Praise for A Northern Front

    “John Hildebrand is one of our most reliable and essential witnesses--an essayist of that most daring sort that sets forth on a sea of words, relying on language to keep afloat his searches in the natural and interior worlds. In A Northern Front his luminous testimony rings true.”—Thomas Lynch, author of The Undertaking: Life Studies from the Dismal Trade

    “Hildebrand is a rare and gifted writer--a reporter who notices essences in nature and people, and a master story teller who then hones journalism to literature. He leads without pushing, emotes without gushing, chums readers with scraps of information yet leaves them sated. These essays are captivating and timeless. Drop everything and read them.”—Ted Williams, Editor-at-Large, Audubon


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