Here is a summary of the book:
Soul of the Maine House is a narrative non-fiction account of building a small house on the coast of Maine. Miller’s son designed it, a remarkable Maine crew built it, while the author and his wife camped out, cut firewood, stained 600 cedar clapboards, painted the interior, and recorded the process.
Miller places the building process in the sweep of Maine history, from the time it was called Mawooshen by the Eastern Abenaki, through the political turbulence of the 16th and 17th centuries when the French and English vied for control of this land and its fur trade, until today.
In this way, the road excavation in to this thickly wooded building site becomes the occasion to understand early New England history and the apocalyptic encounter between Native and European. But it also begins a cathartic, hands-on spiritual odyssey, as Miller says, “ to his once and future soul as an American.”
The book is fearless in its ethical and moral inquiry of America’s beginnings, but it is also personally revealing and even self-incriminating in its search for a pristine spot on which to re-imagine American spirituality in the woods of Maine and in the woods of the world, a new house indeed.
The book should interest those who search for deep historical and ecological understanding, but it will awaken spiritually those who wish to heal the historical hurt of the American soul, and to change their lives.
Here is a brief review by Christopher Buck:
The Soul of a Maine House. is not about a haunted house, but about a house haunted by the American experience on the very land on which the Maine House is built. The subtitle, For Those Seeking a Spiritual Home in America: A Radical Religious Reflection., suggests that this quintessentially American homestead, built from scratch in close interaction with the land, is a sweeping meditation on the American environment, both physical and spiritual. The Soul of a Maine House. explores American colonial history, which necessarily includes the history of Native Americans in that region, through a narrative, yet factual approach to the American experience. The Soul of a Maine House. would make an attractive text for adoption in American studies courses as well. Much in the style of books such as Letters from an American Farmer (1782), The Soul of a Maine House may be compared to a more recent title in this genre, Island Farm. by Arthur Versluis (2000).
Articulate, engaging and thought-provoking, The Soul of a Maine House. opens a window into the very soul and heart of America. Of interest to all thoughtful Americans interested in a deep understanding of the American experience.
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