The Book of Flaco: The World’s Most Famous Bird – Coming in February, 2025

David Gessner

Beacon Press

The Prophet of Dry Hill

Lessons from a Life in Nature

The Prophet Of Dry Hill - David Gessner


David Gessner had always known of John Hay. A nature-writing legend, author of fifteen books, Hay was something of a hero to the younger Gessner. But it wasn’t until he returned to his childhood home on Cape Cod that Gessner befriended the older man. At first, Gessner thought he might write a biography of a writer he admired, but Hay became more friend than subject, and Gessner’s book became a dramatic record of what the young man learned from his elder. The Prophet of Dry Hill is the beautifully written and compelling story of their year together. But more than just a book about friendship, it’s a lyrical testament to the importance of living a life connected to the wild. John Hay lived deeply on one piece of land on Cape Cod for sixty years. As a consequence, he has much to tell Gessner, and us, about the importance of cultivating deep connections to the land we live on. His words speak to our forgotten need for space and for reaching beyond ourselves to the world outside. In our increasingly frenetic world, a life like John Hay’srooted, connected to the natural world, wildprovides a radical counterpoint to our screen-filled existence.

“Reading The Prophet of Dry Hill is like taking a long, soul-satisfying walk with two remarkable naturalists, John Hay and David Gessner. Through Hay’s wise words and Gessner’s keen observations, we witness a gentle unfolding of a friendship seeded in a shared passion for the natural world, and nurtured in the unpredictability of human connectedness. A literary paean to the important work of naturalist and writer John Hay, The Prophet of Dry Hill is a lyrical tribute to compassion, wildness, and wonder.” — Kate Whouley, author of Cottage for Sale, Must Be Moved

“This book is an enormous gift, an act of preservation as important as any chunk of land purchased by the Nature Conservancy.” — Bill McKibben

“For people who truly live there, Cape Cod is not a place but a religion. And for many, the environmentalist John Hay is its prophet.” Amanda Heller, Boston Globe

“A tender, luminous book . . . a picture of the young writer as pilgrim, seeking to connect with a living tradition even as it slips away, and in the process, discovering a new story of his own.”
John Tallmadge, Orion

Return Of The Osprey - David Gessner
Return Of The Osprey - David Gessner