I really wanted to like this book. Which isn't to say it doesn't have good points. Written in collaboration with the Adirondack Museum, the author drew upon the museum's archives to assemble a very nice array of period photographs. The text is informative. In particular it discuses each camp's chain of ownership across the generations. This is material which is not readily available.
So why was I somewhat disappointed? For a book written in collaboration with a museum, I would have expected something a little more scholarly. In particular, Elegant Wilderness is lacking with respect to maps and diagrams. At the very least there should have been an overall map of the Adirondacks indicating the location of each camp. Also sorely needed were sketch plans of the layout of each camp. A half a dozen photos for each camp, with no clear indication of orientation, made it impossible to visualize the overall arrangement of the buildings.
One example of this: the day before I purchased this book, I took the guided tour of the Sagamore camp near Raquette Lake. I was struck by the layout of the buildings, the contrast between the "upper" and "lower" camps, the isolation of the staff buildings, the magnificent setting of the main camp and dining hall overlooking the lake, etc. But when I looked at the Sagamore chapter in Elegant Wilderness, none of this was apparent. I could glean little about how the buildings related to one another and how the camp overall was oriented. Something that a simple sketch plan could have alleviated.
Let me be clear: I don't regret purchasing Elegant Wilderness. I have a long standing interested in the Adirondacks and the Great Camps and I usually reflexively buy anything related to that topic. In that sense this books fits in well with my interests and I enjoyed perusing it. I just wish it had better realized its potential.