Michigan and the Great Lakes

The Windward Shore

A Winter on the Great Lakes
Jerry Dennis

The new book from the author of celebrated books on the Great Lakes


If you have been enchanted by Jerry Dennis's earlier work on sailing the Great Lakes, canoeing, angling, and the natural wonders of water and sky—or you have not yet been lucky enough to enjoy his engaging prose—you will want to immerse yourself in his powerful and insightful new book on winter in Great Lakes country.

Grounded by a knee injury, Dennis learns to live at a slower pace while staying in houses ranging from a log cabin on Lake Superior's Keweenaw Peninsula to a $20 million mansion on the northern shore of Lake Michigan. While walking on beaches and exploring nearby woods and villages, he muses on the nature of time, weather, waves, agates, books, words for snow and ice, our complex relationship with nature, and much more.

From the introduction: "I wanted to present a true picture of a complex region, part of my continuing project to learn at least one place on earth reasonably well, and trusted that it would appear gradually and accumulatively—and not as a conventional portrait, but as a mosaic that included the sounds and scents and textures of the place and some of the plants, animals, and its inhabitants. Bolstered by the notion that a book is a journey that author and reader walk together, I would search for promising trails and follow them as far as my reconstructed knee would allow."

Jerry Dennis is the author of many literary and popular works about nature, science, and outdoor recreation. His essays and stories in The New York Times, Smithsonian, Audubon, National Geographic Traveler, Gray’s Sporting Journal, and many other publications have won numerous awards and are frequently anthologized. His books are widely acclaimed and have been translated into German, Japanese, Chinese, Portuguese, and Czech. In 1999 the Michigan Library Association named Dennis the Michigan Author of the Year. He and his wife, Gail, live near the shore of Lake Michigan not far from Traverse City.

Praise / Awards

  • "Our country is lucky to have Jerry Dennis. A conservationist with the soul of a poet whose beat is Wild Michigan, Dennis is a kindred spirit of Aldo Leopold and Sigurd Olson. The Windward Shore—his newest effort—is a beautifully written and elegiac memoir of outdoor discovery. Highly recommended!"
    —Douglas Brinkley, author of The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America

  • "In prose as clear as the lines in a Dürer etching, Jerry Dennis maps his home ground, which ranges outward from the back door of his farmhouse to encompass the region of vast inland seas at the heart of our continent. Along the way, inspired by the company of water in all its guises—ice, snow, frost, clouds, rain, shore-lapping waves—he meditates on the ancient questions about mind and matter, time and attention, wildness and wonder. As in the best American nature writing—a tradition that Dennis knows well—here the place and the explorer come together in brilliant conversation."
    —Scott Russell Sanders, author of A Conservationist Manifesto

  • "Come for a journey; stay for an awakening. Jerry Dennis loves the Great Lakes, the swell of every wave, the curve of every rock. He wants you to love them too before our collective trashing of them wipes out all traces of their original character. Through his eyes, you will treasure the hidden secrets that reveal themselves only to those who linger and long. Elegant and sad at the same time, The Windward Shore is a love song for the Great Lakes and a gentle call to action to save them."
    —Maude Barlowe, author of Blue Covenant: The Global Water Crisis and the Coming Battle for the Right to Water

  • "The Windward Shore is a provoking work meant to accompany slow, steaming cups of coffee rather than an extra hot grande-on-the-go. It's not a wild page-turner that blows through to the end, but a work seasoned to mull over, enjoy, and consider long after you close the cover."
    Night Light Revue

  • "A truly wonderful read by a favorite author."
    Dave Richey Outdoors

  • "The Windward Shore has inspired profound reflections from my environmental studies, history, and geography students.  While other authors present Great Lakes issues broadly, Jerry Dennis helps his readers pause 'in place.' The Windward Shore reveals the importance of experiential knowledge in the care and protection of our inland seas."
    —Lynne Heasley, Western Michigan University, author of A Thousand Pieces of Paradise: Landscape and Property in the Kickapoo Valley

Look Inside

Copyright © 2011, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

Supplemental Materials

Watch: Book Trailer | 1/3/2012

News, Reviews, Interviews

Watch: Virtual Author Event Recording | Link | 01/26/2021

Read: Interview with the author Night Light Revue | 6/1/2011

Read: Dog Ears Books | 9/3/2011

Read: Interview with the author Jumping the Candlestick | 9/26/2011 

Read: Review Great Lakes Echo | 9/30/2011  

Read: Review Northern Express Weekly | 10/03/11 

Read: Review CMU Public Radio | 10/10/2011 

Read: Review Hungry For Good Books? | 10/24/2011 

Listen: Interview Minnesota Public Radio | 12/2/2011

Media Kit

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 168pp.
  • 15 B&W illustrations.
See Sales Restrictions

Sales Restrictions

Our edition is available in Canada, United States


  • Hardcover
  • 2011
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-11816-8

Add to Cart
  • $22.95 U.S.

  • Paper
  • 2012
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-03525-0

Add to Cart
  • $16.95 U.S.

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  • Great Lakes, Michigan, Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Grand Traverse Bay, Keweenaw Peninsula, Walks, Winter, Seasons, Weather, Outdoors, Nature, Conservation, Ecology, Environmentalism, Water crisis, Natural resources, Glenn Wolff, Memoir