The Names of the Stars: A Life in the Wilds

A Return to Untamed Places. In Montana's Bob Marshall Wilderness, bear tracks cut helter-skelter through the woods; beavers trace yin-yang patterns in dappled pools; wisps of fog cling to the riverbanks. This place, as beautiful as it is dangerous, is the background to Pete Fromm's vivid memoir The Names of the Stars: A Life in the Wilds (Thomas Dunne Books, 2016)--the story of a man's return to untamed places and his commitment to introducing those places to his children. Fromm, an award-winning novelist, grew up in the backcountry of Wisconsin and spent much of his life in the outdoors. He documented one of his adventures, seven winter months in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness monitoring salmon eggs, in the 1993 memoir Indian Creek Chronicles. In The Names of the Stars, Fromm recounts how he got to relive that experience: In 2004, the U.S. Forest Service asks him to track grayling eggs in the wilds of Montana. Alone in a cabin or out in the backwoods, Fromm confronts the glory and the fears of fatherhood, and of getting older, while fishing, chopping wood, and ducking bear encounters by singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame." he repeatedly asks in quiet contemplation while rifling through memory. The answer rings back from the topographies all around him, and the family waiting for him to come home. This article appeared in the March/April 2017 edition with the headline "Mountain Man."
The Names of the Stars: A Life in the Wilds
The Names of the Stars: A Life in the Wilds

In Montana’s Bob Marshall Wilderness, bear tracks cut helter-skelter through the woods; beavers trace yin-yang patterns in dappled pools; wisps of fog cling to the riverbanks. This place, as beautiful as it is dangerous, is the background to Pete Fromm’s vivid memoir The Names of the Stars: A Life in the Wilds (Thomas Dunne Books, 2016)–the story of a man’s return to untamed places and his commitment to introducing those places to his children.

Fromm, an award-winning novelist, grew up in the backcountry of Wisconsin and spent much of his life in the outdoors. He documented one of…

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