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Downstream from Here
CHARLES R. EISENDRATH, in this series of essays spanning four decades, explores the things that grow lives of their own when left undisturbed at a second home — things like an “ancestor room,” a storm- struck forest, a player piano and a childhood fear of wild dogs. These essays are about the loves of a place inhabited temporarily, but which shape a person permanently. In 1973, after covering the assassination of Chilean President Salvador Allende for Time magazine, Eisendrath decided to not let a career stand in the way of growing roots and building a life. He moved with his wife and two young sons to Michigan, a part of the world imagined and carved into 160-acre homesteads by Thomas Jefferson. At Overlook Farm, the Eisendraths would be his heirs. These essays range from Anatolia to Argentina, from FDR’s secret wartime fishing trip to a plane crash in Costa Rica. The margin notes of academic articles lead to a grill admired by James Beard and a Saudi prince. Tenure at the University of Michigan inspires a cherry orchard and bulldozers invite ghosts. Serious, hilarious, inquisitive, spontaneous, Eisendrath introduces us to the people and places, the life, death and afterlife that goes on nonstop, all around us, all by itself.

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