NORTHEASTER: A STORY OF COURAGE AND SURVIVAL IN THE BLIZZARD OF 1952 by Cathie Pelletier; Pegasus Books, 2023; 270 pages, $28.95; ISBN 978-1-63936-341-4.


Maine has always had fierce winter storms, but the Blizzard of 1952 reveals just how powerful Mother Nature can be and how strong and resilient Mainers respond.

“Northeaster” is Allagash author Cathie Pelletier’s outstanding nonfiction story of that famous winter storm and its impact throughout New England, but most importantly its impact in Maine. Pelletier is an award-winning author of 12 novels, including the excellent 2005 “Running the Bulls.” She is also a successful songwriter, but her writing takes center stage here.

The Blizzard of 1952 devastated much of New England and killed 36 people (six in Maine), but her focus is on the Maine men and women who survived and those six who didn’t. She vividly describes the storm conditions — gale force winds over 70 mph, heavy, blowing snow with drifts up to 20 feet high, bitter cold temperatures of 10 degrees (wind chill of 30 below zero), how power and phone lines broke, and roads and railroads became impassable. Even huge plow vehicles were stuck.

She tells of 500 travelers stuck in the Howard Johnson’s restaurant in Kennebunk, and the thousand more stranded in cars and buses on the roads. The wind-driven snow buried cars, trains, buildings, and knocked down WPOR’s 306-foot radio tower in Portland. Then there were the tragic stories of two fishermen lost at sea and the coast guardsmen who tried to rescue them. Inspirational stories of survival include two ice fishermen who walked miles to find shelter, the Navy sailor buried in his car under 12 feet of snow, and the doctor and nurse who dragged a pregnant woman on a sled for two miles to the hospital.

The Old Farmer’s Almanac had correctly predicted: “Now comes a real blizzard right up to your gizzard.”


ACADIA NATIONAL PARK by Anne M. Kozak; Arcadia Publishing, 2023; 127 pages, $23.99; ISBN 978-1-4671-0986-4.

There are four national parks in Maine; none as famous as Acadia National Park on Mount Desert Island, which attracts a million visitors a year to experience its remarkable beauty and grandeur.

“Acadia National Park” is another of Arcadia Publishing’s books in its “Images of America” series, featuring Maine’s fascinating history. The author is a professor emeritus of the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor, and is ably

ACADIA NATIONAL PARK by Anne M. Kozak; Arcadia Publishing, 2023; 127 pages, $23.99; ISBN 978-1-4671-0986-4.

supported by Josh Winer and Sam Putnam (photos). The book tells of Acadia’s early history, late 19th century to the 1940s-60s, using 176 black-and-white period photographs and excellent, detailed captions. Best, Kozak focuses on the men and women whose contributions, support and hard work made Acadia a treasured reality.

Kozak reveals that Acadia was not created out of federal lands; instead, it was created from private property donated by generous, forward-thinking benefactors like John D. Rockefeller, Mrs. Eliza Homans and Mrs. Louise Leeds and her daughters (who donated the Schoodic Peninsula as a park addition). She tells how George Dorr was the driving force, working tirelessly to secure private funding and land donations, then arranging national park status and approval.

Chapters show the development of the park’s memorial paths, creation of the carriage roads and historic bridges (designed by acclaimed architect Frederick Law Olmstead). One chapter is devoted to the construction of the Cadillac Mountain Road, an incredible feat of engineering that required dynamite blasting of solid granite rock (and killed three men).

By the way, the other national parks in Maine are the Appalachian National Scenic Trail, Katahdin Woods and Waters National Monument and the Saint Croix Island International Scenic Site. See also “The Kid’s Guide to Acadia National Park” by Eileen Ogintz (2019) and “Creating Acadia National Park” by Ronald Epp (2016).

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