John Hanson Mitchell
Books Essays Biography Contact



Legends of the Common Stream

University of Massachusetts Press,

“Mitchell weaves history, natural history, culture, environmental issues, myths, folklore, religion—in powerful, dynamic ways, all while visiting intimate Beaver Brook. I have not read another book that so intimately ties together so many strands so effectively. Mitchell takes these strands and braids a beautiful book.”
-Sean Prentiss, author of Finding Abbey

Travels in a Vanishing Empire

Komatic Press,

"This book is pure gold for both old China hands and readers who just want a good adventure in a bye-gone world. James Archibald Mitchell's fresh and lively observations of his travels in warlord China, 1915-18, are witness to a China closer to the middle ages than the industrial era."
-Gary Moore, playwright and author of Burning in China
And Eden of Sorts An Eden of Sorts:
A Natural History of My Feral Garden

Countryman Press

"Mitchell is a thinker and an observer who applies to his garden the ideas he finds through study and travel."
-Horticulture Magazine


The Last of the Bird People

Wilderness House Press,

"John Hanson Mitchell is a unique, delightful, and absolutely essential voice"
-New York Time Book Review
The Paradise of All These Parts: A Natural History of Boston

Beacon Press

"A wonderful piece of work: lively, thought-provoking and totally absorbing. The city of Boston has been chopped to pieces, riddled with tunnels, and surrounded by fill, but as Mitchell reveals in The Paradise of All These Parts, it is still a place of wonder."
-Nathaniel Philbrick, author of Mayflower: A Story of Courage, Community, and War
The Rose Cafe:
Love and War in Corsica

Shoemaker & Hoard,

"The juxtaposition of the beautiful island's vitality and the horrors it so recently survived are captured well in Mitchell's precise and evocative prose, making this well worth reading for fans of memoirs, Old World European culture and WWII narratives."
- Publisher’s Weekly (Starred Review)
Looking for Mr Gilbert:
The Reimagined Life of an African American

Shoemaker & Hoard,

“Mitchell tells a remarkable story of the discovery and authentication of a hitherto invisible African American life…. Mitchell does so with warmth and wit, and he opens our eyes to an important figure in American photography.”
- Henry Louis Gates Jr.

Following the Sun:
From Spain to the Hebrides


"… The author is a sensualist, a lover of literature, deep time, and old night, and his ramble is tailor-made to feed these passions.'s his willingness to stop and smell the flowers that makes him such a companionable writer...Few won't wish they were riding in Mitchell's slipstream, sharing in all the sun and stories and places, the wine and the food." - Kirkus
The Wildest Place on Earth:
Italian Gardens and the Invention of Wilderness


“I cannot imagine anyone reading this fine little book without beginning to form some really big plans. “
- The Boston Globe
An Inquiry into the Private Ownership of Land

Perseus Books,

“The beauty of this book… lies in Mitchell’s intimacy with the tract of land … the depth of the setting deepens the reader’s feel for the humans that populate it”.
- Verlyn Kilnkenborg in Audubon Magazine
Walking Towards Walden:
A Pilgimage in Search of Place

Perseus Books,

“This is surely John Mitchell’s best book, and he is one of the most intriguing, original nature writers alive. It’s a jaunt through history and ecology, a spirited personal memoir, a saunter in Thoreau’s richly diverse sense of the word. Top-notch.”
-Edward Hoagland
Living at the End of Time

Houghton Mifflin,

"…Mitchell knows his plants and animals as certainly as any expert ecologist. But he stalks different game. He’s after the shadows of older ways of seeing, something latent in the antique term `natural history’ but deeper.”
- New York Times Book Review

A Field Guide to your Own Backyard

Countryman Press,

“… This well-written book goes beyond identification. Its purpose is to open our eyes to the galaxy of living and growing things nearby – lowly lichens, crawly cutworms, attractive roadside flowers, nocturnal raccoons, and even birds of prey migrating overhead.”
- Roger Tory Peterson

Ceremonial Time:
Fifteen Thousand Years on One Square Mile

Perseus Books,

“Scratch Flat is and was the world … I can think of no other book that provides so personal and yet so comprehensive a view of America, past, present, and potentially, future.”
- New York Times Book Review. Editor’s Choice.

© 2019 John Hanson Mitchell
All rights reserved