The Coast

The Coast: A Journey Down the Atlantic Shore by Joseph J. Thorndike (St. Martin’s Press, 1993).

The book jacket says Joseph Thorndike is the Co-Founder and Editorial Director of the American Heritage Publishing Company. I picture a retired gentleman traveling from Maine to Florida at a leisurely pace, keeping a journal. In each chapter Thorndike includes a hand-drawn map of the section of the coast he is covering, which is very helpful for the reader. He’s not a wide-eyed tourist though; he sees the shore from an environmentally aware perspective. He understands all that is lost with shoreline development, especially habitat loss, and rejoices where sections of the coast are open for public use. For the benefit of those who might want to visit the same places, he indicates what the laws of each state are concerning property ownership and public access to the shoreline. Although this book was written in 1993, Thorndike does discuss the issues of coastal erosion due to storms and climate-induced sea level rise, and why it’s a mistake to let people rebuild. He also highlights the national and state parks, and the work of the Fish and Wildlife Service and the Corps of Engineers.


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