In this robust, informal book, Robert E. Pike tells the colorful story of logging and log-driving in New England.
The New England loggers and river drivers were a unique breed of men. Working with their axes and peaveys through Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont, they contributed mightily to the development of the United States. The daily life of the loggers was hard — working in deep icy water fourteen hours a day, sleeping in wet blankets, eating coarse food, and constantly risking their lives. Their pay was very low, yet they were proud to call themselves loggers. When they came out of the woods after the spring drives, they ebulliently spent their pay carousing in the staid New England towns. Robert E. Pike, who as a youth worked in the woods and on the rivers, writes affectionately and knowingly, with humorous anecdotes, of every detail of lumbering. He describes the daily life of the logging camps, giving a picture of the different specialist jobs: the camp boss, the choppers, the sawyers and filers, the scaler, the teamsters, the river men, the railroaders, and the lumber kings. His descriptions bring the reader vividly into the woods, smelling the tangy, newly cut timber, hearing the boom of the falling trees. "The author's lively prose matches the temper of his subject. . . . This is basic history, geography, psychology, economics, and folklore all rolled into one top-quality volume." — R. S. Monahan, New York Times Book Review