Northern Trails.

By William J Long

Printed: 1905

Publisher: The Athenaeum press. London

Dimensions 15 × 1 × 4 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 15 x 1 x 4

Condition: Very good  (See explanation of ratings)

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Item information


Green cloth binding with gilt title and decoration on the spine. Wolf and title on the front board.

  • F.B.A. provides an in-depth photographic presentation of this item to stimulate your feeling and touch. More traditional book descriptions are immediately available.

First Edition: Hardcover. Condition: Very Good. No Jacket. Four interior subtitles: Wayseeses the Strong One, Where the Trail Begins, Noel and Mooka, The Way of the Wolf, The White Wolf’s Hunting, Trails That Cross in the Snow. 126 pp. plus Glossary of Indian Names.


——  My father owned this book, copyright 1905. I believe he won it by selling magazines, probably around 1925. I have his copy, slightly falling apart by now. I purchased this new one for my grandsons.

Northern Trails. While some of William J. Long’s depictions of northern people (“my Indians”) might not be politically correct today, they were very respectful for their time. His fictionalized animal observations are very perspicacious, based on many hours in the wilds of Newfoundland and Labrador, and always engaging to read. He was an early proponent of animals having actual intelligence and emotions as most biologists believe today, without trying to humanize them. He’s great on wolves, on the fisher, on the salmon, on the polar bear, on geese, on whales. He writes great stories — puts you there. Wonderful illustrations by Charles Copeland on every page are a bonus.

——-   A great book.


William Joseph Long (3 April 1867 – 1952) was an American writer, naturalist and minister. He lived and worked in Stamford, Connecticut as a minister of the First Congregationalist Church.

As a naturalist, he would leave Stamford every March, often with his son, Brian, and two daughters, Lois and Cesca, to travel to “the wilderness” of Maine. There they would stay until the first snows of October, although sometimes he would stay all winter. In the 1920s, he began spending his summers in Nova Scotia, claiming “the wilderness is getting too crowded”.

He wrote of these wilderness experiences in the books Ways of Wood Folk, Wilderness Ways, Wood-folk Comedies, Northern Trails, Wood Folk at School, and many others. His earlier books were illustrated by Charles Copeland; two later ones were illustrated by Charles Livingston Bull. Long believed that the best way to experience the wild was to “plant yourself and sit for hours on end to let the wild come to you; and they will!”

Historian Ralph H. Lutts has argued that Long was “an experienced woodsman and close observer of nature” who did not intentionally fabricate his observations but sometimes misinterpreted what he saw. Long rejected Darwinism and the idea of struggle for existence. He believed that all animal minds were reflections of God and relied on empathy to understand animal psychology.

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