Wednesday, April 16, 2014

2005 National Outdoor Book Award Winners

NOBA LogoThe National Outdoor Book Awards (NOBA) is the outdoor world's largest and most prestigious book award program. It is a non-profit, educational program, sponsored by the NOBA Foundation, Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education, and Idaho State University.

The purpose of the Awards is to recognize and encourage outstanding writing and publishing. Each fall in early November, the NOBA Foundation announces the winners of the nine categories making up the program, including History, Literature, Children, Nature, Instructional, Adventure Guidebook, Nature Guidebook, Design, and Outdoor Classic.

The program has very high standards of fairness and objectivity and has no connection whatsoever to any publisher or publishing business interest. The winners are chosen by a panel of judges consisting of educators, academics, book reviewers, authors, editors, and outdoor columnists from throughout the country.


Pocatello, Idaho/Buffalo, New York - The story of the life of a black South African is at the heart of a new book on solo yacht racing.  The book, entitled Journey of a Hope Merchant by Neal Petersen is the winner of the History/Biography Category of the 2005 National Outdoor Book Awards.

Winners of National Outdoor Book Award (NOBA) represent some of the finest outdoor writing and artwork being published today. The nonprofit program is sponsored by the NOBA Foundation, Idaho State University and the Association of Outdoor Recreation and Education. The program honors books across ten individual categories.

  In Journey of a Hope Merchant, Neal Petersen describes how he overcame physical disability and the humiliation of apartheid to compete in one of the most dangerous of all sports: solo sailing around the globe.  While many of his well-heeled fellow competitors sail in the latest technological marvels, Petersen built his own yacht, scrounging supplies and materials. 

  Without enough money to install electronic navigation equipment, he sails off on his first race with a sextant that he hasn't yet learned how to use.  From then on it's all adventure.  His account of approaching Cape Horn and surviving a vicious night of 150-foot waves and multiple knockdowns is as thrilling as it gets.  Quite simply, this is a wonderful story of the sea, and one man's hope, determination, and joy for life.

  The winner of the Literature Category is Savage Summit.  Written by Jennifer Jordan Savage Summit is a brilliantly written account which follows the lives of five women who climbed K2 .  Shifting through hours of interviews and written materials, Jordan weaves together a riveting tale of adventure, ambition, love and tragedy. 

  The announcement of the award winners was made recently at a special evening ceremony at the International Conference on Outdoor Recreation and Education. 


List of winners

History/Biography Category.  Winner.  Journey of a Hope Merchant:  From Apartheid to the Elite World of Solo Yacht Racing.  By Neal Petersen with William P. Baldwin and Patty Fulcher.  University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, SC.   ISBN 1570035644 Order it now.

  History/Biography Category.  Honorable Mention.  Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life.  By Arlene Blum.  Scribner, New York.  ISBN 0743258460 Order it now.

  Outdoor Literature.  Winner.  Savage Summit:  The True Stories of the First Five Women who climbed K2, the World's Most Feared Mountain.  By Jennifer Jordan.  William Morrow, New York.  ISBN 0060587156 Order it now.

  Outdoor Literature.  Honorable Mention.  At the Mercy of the River:  An Exploration of the Last African Wilderness.  By Peter Stark.  Ballatine Books, New York . ISBN 0345441818 Order it now.

  Natural History Literature.  Winner.  Out of Eden : An Odyssey of Ecological Invasion.  By Alan Burdick.  Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York.  ISBN 0374219737 Order it now.

  Nature and the Environment.  Winner.  Sea Turtles:  A Complete Guide to their Biology, Behavior and Conservation.  By James R. Spotila.  The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.  ISBN 0801880076 Order it now.

  Design and Artistic Merit Category.  Winner.  Mountain Ranges of Colorado .  Photographed and Written by John Fielder.  Designed by Mark Mulvany.  Westcliffe Publishers, Englewood, CO.  ISBN 1565794966 Order it now.

  Children's Books.  Winner.  The Little Green Island With a Little Red House:  A Book of Colors and Critters.  By Sharon Lovejoy.  Down East Books, Rockport, ME.   ISBN 0892726733 Order it now.

  Children's Books.  Honorable Mention.  The Leaf Man.   By Lois Ehlert.  Harcourt, New York.  ISBN 0152053042 Order it now.

  Instructional Category.  Winner.  Basic Kayaking:  All the Skills and Gear You Need to Get Started.  By Wayne Dickett and Jon Rounds.  Photographs by Skip Brown.  Illustrations by Roberto Sabas.  Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PA.   ISBN 978081173209 Order it now.

  Instruction Category.  Winner.  Glacier Mountaineering:  An Illustrated Guide to Glacier Travel and Crevasse Rescue.  By Andy Tyson.  Illustrated by Mike Clelland.  Edited by Michael Kennedy.  Climbing Magazine, Carbondale, CO.  ISBN 1893682129 Order it now.

  Outdoor Adventure Guidebook Category.  Winner.  Top Trails Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks .  By Andres Dean Nystrom.  Wilderness Press, Berkeley.  ISBN 089997368X Order it now.

  Outdoor Adventure Guidebook Category.  Honorable Mention.  Idaho 's Salmon River : A River Runner's Guide to the River of No Return.  By Eric J. Newell and Allison J. Newell.  Black Canyon Guides, Logan, UT.   ISBN 0976671700 Order it now.

  Outdoor Adventure Guidebook Category.  Honorable Mention.  Red Rock Canyon : A Climbing Guide.  By Roxanna Brook and Jared McMillen.  The Mountaineers Books, Seattle.  ISBN 0898864860 Order it now.

  Nature Guidebook Category.  Winner.  Snakes of the Southeast.  By Whit Gibbons and Mike Dorcas.  The University of Georgia Press , Athens, GA.   ISBN 0820326526 Order it now.

  Nature Guidebook Category.  Honorable Mention.  Nature's Strongholds: The World's Great Wildlife Reserves.  By Laura and William Riley.  Princeton University Press, Princeton.  ISBN 0691122199 Order it now.

  Classic Category.  Life-time Achievement Recognition:  Farley Mowat for  Sea of Slaughter , Never Cry Wolf and other works.  Citation: Sea of Slaughter.  By Farley Mowat.  Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PA.   ISBN 0811731693.  (Never Cry Wolf and other Mowat books are available from a variety of publishers.) Order it now.


  Full Reviews

Reviews of Winners of the 2005 National Outdoor Book Awards

History/Biography Category.  Winner.  Journey of a Hope Merchant:  From Apartheid to the Elite World of Solo Yacht Racing.  By Neal Petersen with William P. Baldwin and Patty Fulcher.  University of South Carolina Press, Columbia, SC.   ISBN 1570035644 Order it now.

This is the story of Neal Petersen, a black South African who overcomes physical disability and the humiliation of apartheid to compete in one of the most dangerous of all sports: solo sailing around the globe.  While many of his well-heeled fellow competitors sail in the latest technological marvels, Petersen builds his own yacht, scrounging supplies and materials.  Without enough money to install electronic navigation equipment, he sails off on his first race with a sextant that he hasn't yet learned how to use.  From then on it's all adventure.  His account of approaching Cape Horn and surviving a vicious night of 150-foot waves and multiple knockdowns is as thrilling as it gets.  Quite simply, this is a wonderful story of the sea, and one man's hope, determination, and joy for life.

History/Biography Category.  Honorable Mention.  Breaking Trail: A Climbing Life.  By Arlene Blum.  Scribner, New York.  ISBN 0743258460 Order it now.

Arlene Blum is truly one of the pioneers of climbing, leading the way and clearing a path for women in expeditionary mountaineering.  This is her story, told in her own words:  her drive and determination in overcoming barriers; her dreams, achievements and disappointments in life; and the triumphs and tragedies amongst the high peaks of the world.

Outdoor Literature.  Winner.  Savage Summit:  The True Stories of the First Five Women who climbed K2, the World's Most Feared Mountain.  By Jennifer Jordan.  William Morrow, New York.  ISBN 0060587156 Order it now.

Savage Summit is a brilliantly written account which follows the lives of five women who climbed K2 .  Shifting through hours of interviews and written materials, Jennifer Jordan weaves together a riveting tale of adventure, ambition, love and tragedy.  This book is so well written that it reads like a novel.  Mark these words:  Savage Summit is destined to assume an honored place among some of the best climbing books ever written.

Outdoor Literature.  Honorable Mention.  At the Mercy of the River:  An Exploration of the Last African Wilderness.  By Peter Stark.  Ballatine Books, New York . ISBN 0345441818 Order it now.

At the Mercy of the River easily could have been standard outdoor fare, a simple chronicle of descending an African river.  But master story teller Peter Stark serves up something far more satisfying: an inward journey.  The outward journey a is trip down Mozambique's Lugend River , but the river turns out to be more difficult than anyone had imagined, and the party finds themselves pushed to the limits.  Using his descriptive prowess, Stark captures the heart-thumping anxiety, the building tension between party members, and his own dark uncertainties.

Natural History Literature.  Winner.  Out of Eden : An Odyssey of Ecological Invasion.  By Alan Burdick.  Farrar, Straus and Giroux, New York.  ISBN 0374219737 Order it now.

Combining exhaustive research and an engaging and lyrical writing style, author Alan Burdick explores the ecological minefield of exotic, non-native species.  We zig and zag through that minefield from Hawaii to Guam to San Francisco to Alaska , following the work of scientists in the new field of invasion biology.  What we learn in the end is unsettling: nature herself may pose the greatest threat to the future of our planet.

Nature and the Environment.  Winner.  Sea Turtles:  A Complete Guide to their Biology, Behavior and Conservation.  By James R. Spotila.  The John Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.  ISBN 0801880076 Order it now.

It won't take long:  open this new, beautifully produced book, you'll find yourself hopelessly caught up in the life of sea turtles.  Why is this book so captivating?  The photography for one.  It's simply divine.  And so is the accompanying text.  Author James Spotila is a marine biologist who has spent his career studying these magnificent creatures of the sea, and he writes with authority, spirit and passion.

Design and Artistic Merit Category.  Winner.  Mountain Ranges of Colorado .  Photographed and Written by John Fielder.  Designed by Mark Mulvany.  Westcliffe Publishers, Englewood, CO.  ISBN 1565794966 Order it now.

This is a magnificent book!  Mountain Ranges of Colorado is a milestone in the art of mountain photography.  It's also a labor of love, the culmination of fifteen years of dedicated photographic exploration throughout the mountains of Colorado .  Everything about this book is impressive from the solid cover which resembles a smooth piece of Rocky Mountain granite, to its cohesive and intelligent design, to John Fielder's masterful photography.

Children's Books.  Winner.  The Little Green Island With a Little Red House:  A Book of Colors and Critters.  By Sharon Lovejoy.  Down East Books, Rockport, ME.   ISBN 0892726733 Order it now.

"On a little green island, stands a little red house, with a little orange cat, a little gray mouse . . . ."  So begins, Sharon Lovejoy's gem of a children's book about colors and critters.  Written for young children, ages three and older, Lovejoy uses tender rhyme, playful fonts, and wondrous illustrations to introduce a bestiary of creatures inhabiting homes, yards, fields and woods.  It's certain to excite and delight all young budding naturalists.

Children's Books.  Honorable Mention.  The Leaf Man.   By Lois Ehlert.  Harcourt, New York.  ISBN 0152053042 Order it now.

In this warm and radiant book full of fall colors, we follow the travels of Leaf Man -- who, incidentally, just happens to reside in a nearby pile of leaves.  He goes tumbling away, past pumpkins and winter squash and lakes and rivers.  Children will love to follow along on the journey and point out all the colorful leaves they see on the way.  For ages 4 to 8.

Instructional Category.  Winner.  Basic Kayaking:  All the Skills and Gear You Need to Get Started.  By Wayne Dickett and Jon Rounds.  Photographs by Skip Brown.  Illustrations by Roberto Sabas.  Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PA.   ISBN 978081173209 Order it now.

Once again Stackpole Books scores a winner with their series on basic outdoor skills.  The photographs, creative design, and clear and understandable text combine to make this book a marvelous introduction to the exciting sport of whitewater kayaking.

Instruction Category.  Winner.  Glacier Mountaineering:  An Illustrated Guide to Glacier Travel and Crevasse Rescue.  By Andy Tyson.  Illustrated by Mike Clelland.  Edited by Michael Kennedy.  Climbing Magazine, Carbondale, CO.  ISBN 1893682129 Order it now.

Without a doubt, this is a reliable and straightforward instructional text covering the knowledge and skills necessary for safe glacial travel.  Its real strong point is the accompanying illustrations by Mike Clelland: delightfully whimsical but remarkably clear and understandable.

Outdoor Adventure Guidebook Category.  Winner.  Top Trails Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks .  By Andres Dean Nystrom.  Wilderness Press, Berkeley.  ISBN 089997368X Order it now.

If this year's winner of the Guidebook Category is any indication, Top Trails are top notched guidebooks.  Top Trails Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks is a guidebook with a lot of moxie.  It's exceedingly well organized.  The maps are uncluttered and easy to use.  And introductory charts help you identify suitable trails.  In addition to the book's smart design, Andres Dean Nystrom has done a splendid job of researching and writing about the trails.

Outdoor Adventure Guidebook Category.  Honorable Mention.  Idaho's Salmon River: A River Runner's Guide to the River of NoReturn.  By Eric J. Newell and Allison J. Newell.  Black Canyon Guides, Logan, UT.   ISBN 0976671700 Order it now.

This is a marvelously unpretentious compact guide to running the rapids of the famous River of No Return .  Included are maps, GPS coordinates, camp locations, schematics of major rapids and plenty of helpful hints.  Plus, it's waterproof and just the right size to slip under a life jacket.

Outdoor Adventure Guidebook Category.  Honorable Mention.  Red Rock Canyon : A Climbing Guide.  By Roxanna Brook and Jared McMillen.  The Mountaineers Books, Seattle.  ISBN 0898864860 Order it now.

There is none more complete.  This guidebook to the famous Red Rocks climbing area, 30 minutes from Las Vegas , is fittingly produced and remarkably comprehensive with over 1,500 routes described.

Nature Guidebook Category.  Winner.  Snakes of the Southeast.  By Whit Gibbons and Mike Dorcas.  The University of Georgia Press , Athens, GA.   ISBN 0820326526 Order it now.

Snakes of the Southeast is an eye-catching new nature guidebook melding good descriptive writing, a dapper design and strikingly crisp photographs.  The 52 species of snakes found in the southeast are fully covered:  size charts, distribution maps, key identifiers, habitat descriptions.  It's all there in one very nicely wrapped package.

Nature Guidebook Category.  Honorable Mention.  Nature's Strongholds: The World's Great Wildlife Reserves.  By Laura and William Riley.  Princeton University Press, Princeton.  ISBN 0691122199 Order it now.

This 672-page tome is a guide to some of the wildest, most wildlife-filled places on earth.  It was a massive undertaking, but writers and conservationists, Laura and William Riley were up to the task and brought it off with aplomb.

Classic Category.  Life-time Achievement Recognition.  Farley Mowat for Sea of Slaughter, Never Cry Wolf and other works.  Citation: Sea of Slaughter .  By Farley Mowat.  Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PA.   ISBN 0811731693.  (Never Cry Wolf and other Mowat books are available from a variety of publishers.) Order it now.

This year, with the submission of Sea of Slaughter by Stackpole Books, the judges decided to take the opportunity to honor Farley Mowat for a lifetime of work of writing about the outdoors.  Mowat's most well known, and perhaps most far reaching, book is Never Cry Wolf.  First written in 1964, Never Cry Wolf is often credited with helping change the public's image of wolves as wanton killers.  Now several decades later, the wolf is seen correctly as an integral part of the wild environment, contributing to the balance between prey and predator.

In Sea of Slaughter , Mowat centers on the marine environment of the North Atlantic coast from Labrador to Cape Cod .  Backed up by extensive research, he documents the years of human exploitation and the resulting decimation of coastal sea life.  At the end of the book, Mowat offers one glimmer of hope.  He sees small signs that we are making progress towards protecting sea life.  "We may succeed," he writes "in making man humane . . . at last.  And then the Sea of Slaughter Sea of Life ."  Let us hope that Mowat's wish may some day come to pass.