Northland: A 4,000-Mile Journey Along America's Forgotten Border

Porter Fox (Author)


Writer Porter Fox spent three years exploring 4,000 miles of the border between Maine and Washington, traveling by canoe, freighter, car, and foot. In Northland, he blends a deeply reported and beautifully written story of the region's history with a riveting account of his travels. Setting out from the easternmost point in the mainland United States, Fox follows explorer Samuel de Champlain's adventures across the Northeast; recounts the rise and fall of the timber, iron, and rail industries; crosses the Great Lakes on a freighter; and traces the forty-ninth parallel from Minnesota to the Pacific Ocean. He weaves in his encounters with residents, border guards, Indian activists, and militia leaders to give a dynamic portrait of the northland today, wracked by climate change, water wars, oil booms, and border security.

Product Details

W. W. Norton & Company
Publish Date
June 04, 2019
5.4 X 0.7 X 8.6 inches | 0.45 pounds
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About the Author

Porter Fox is the editor of Nowhere and the author of Deep. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, Outside, National Geographic Adventure, and The Best American Travel Writing. Raised in Maine, he lives in New York.


Richly populated with fascinating northlanders, Native Americans, and many border patrol agents, this is highly entertaining and informative travel literature.
Fox's borderland journal offers a poignant reminder of the shared history of two nations and the contentious nature of the border line.--Laurence A. Marschall
[Fox is] adept at... capturing the natural beauty and ancient landscapes of the borderlands.... [His] travels uncover a secret: this largely ignored border is key to the U.S. economy... and it will loom large if and when America's more easily accessible natural resources become depleted.
In this sweeping account of the northern boundary of the U.S., Fox... moves seamlessly between geologic and human time scales.... He narrates his own travels with keen observation, attuned to the special details that set each place apart, and speaks to fascinating people along the way who have shaped their lives, in one way or another, around the border.... Although this boundary line is, for the most part, invisible, Fox finds that it still leaves an indelible mark on the places and people it touches.
Part adventure, some history, and a little bit Studs Terkel, filled with encounters with people as diverse as the landscape.--Jon Foro
Fox is an excellent guide, capturing the majesty of the Northland's diverse geology, flora, weather and seasons.--Peter Geye
In a time when no borders should be ignored--when ICE and ice are indifferent to human lives--a travelogue like Fox's, freighted with history and hope, blood and bone and snow, is all the more important.--B. David Zarley, Paste magazine
Northland... [has] that touch of jump and sparkle that every good travelogue needs.--Peter Lewis