By Deborah Fleming. The Kent State University Press. April, 2019
Yosemite National Park, Louisiana’s bayou, the rocky coasts of New England, the desert Southwest—America’s more dramatic locations are frequently celebrated for their natural beauty, but far less has been written about Ohio’s unique and beautiful environment. Author Deborah Fleming, who has lived in rural Ohio and cared for its land for decades, shares fourteen interrelated essays, blending her own experiences with scientific and literary research. Resurrection of the Wild discusses both natural and human histories as it focuses on the Allegheny Plateau and hill country in Ohio’s eastern counties.
These lyrical meditations delve into life on Fleming’s farm, the impacts of the mining and drilling industries, fox hunting, homesteading families, the lives of agriculturalist Louis Bromfield and John Chapman (better known as Johnny Appleseed), and Ohio’s Amish community. Fleming finds that our very concept of freedom must be redefined to include preservation and respect for the natural world. Ultimately, Resurrection of the Wild becomes a compelling argument for the importance of ecological preservation in Ohio, and Fleming’s perspective will resonate with readers both within and beyond this “forgotten” state’s borders.
“Every place on Earth needs a writer as attentive as Deborah Fleming, to study it with a loving and clear-eyed gaze. In these essays, she explores the natural and human history of her home ground, the hill country of eastern Ohio, a landscape battered by strip mining, careless farming, and deforestation. . . . With a wealth of examples, Fleming demonstrates how nature’s resilience, aided by human care, can restore the land to health. May her book inspire readers to join such healing efforts in their own home places.”
—Scott Russell Sanders, author of Earth Works: Selected Essays
“Whether writing about her garden, or raising horses, or the impact of coal mining, Deborah Fleming offers an intimate natural history of her farm and her state. By book’s end, Ohio is no longer dull, barren flyover land, but one beautiful, fragile web of ecological relationships to which Fleming belongs and is committed.”
—Tom Montgomery Fate, author of Cabin Fever: A Suburban Father’s Search for the Wild
“Just as Aldo Leopold chronicles and celebrates the landscape around his ‘shack’ in Sauk County, Wisconsin, in Resurrection of the Wild Deborah Fleming conveys the history and character of her home on eastern Ohio’s Allegheny Plateau. . . . I loved the precise and energetic way Fleming interweaves descriptions of her home landscape’s geology, such notable figures from its past as Johnny Appleseed and Louis Bromfield of Malabar Farm, and her own special fascination with horses.”
—John Elder, author of Reading the Mountains of Home