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A Handmade Wilderness

333 pages5 hours


A memoir of an interracial gay couple bringing eighty acres back to life in 1960s Southern Mississippi: “This is no ordinary back-to-the-land book” (Sue Hubbell).
In 1968, when Don G. Schueler and Willie Brown bought eighty acres in Mississippi, all they could afford was a piece of “least worst land”—a parcel that had been logged, burned, and ravaged, about twenty-five miles from the Gulf Coast. Moonshiners and poachers tried to scare them off, but the two stuck it out, restoring “The Place,” bringing back the flora and fauna, until they had created a handmade wilderness containing every ecosystem found in the region. This is the true story of their amazing journey.
“Schueler and his partner purchased a bruised parcel of rural land, their goal to restore it to an ecologically balanced habitat for indigenous plant species and wildlife. Though his thoroughly engaging chronicle posits the dicey situation of a white man and a black man making a home in rural Mississippi in 1968, Schueler’s account is replete with amusing anecdotes that illuminate a quarter-century of interactions with neighbors vastly different from themselves and the conscientious caretaking efforts they expended. The saga embraces hurricane Camille’s destruction of a newly completed section of their house, and the fortitude that led them to build again, and the acquiring of a bevy of animals in the bargain.” —Booklist

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