- Browse Books
- Events / Book Groups
- June Events
- July Events
- Special Events
- Book Groups
- Staff Corner
- Contact Us
You are hereBack to top
6/30 - "A Familiar Wilderness" by SJ Dahlman
Join us for a reading Sunday, June 30th at 3:00pm with journalist, author, and univerity professor SJ Dahlman for his new book A Familiar Wilderness: Searching for Home on Daniel Boone's Road.
About the Book
In 1775, renowned pioneer Daniel Boone was commissioned to blaze a road through the Appalachian and Cumberland Plateau regions as a fledgling American nation steadily pushed westward. What would come to be known as the Wilderness Road was the first major route into the West, and it allowed settlers to migrate northwest into Kentucky and later settle parts of Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois. In 2012, Jim Dahlman stopped to stretch his legs on a brief hike into the Cumberland Gap and stumbled upon an adventure. After months of preparation, Dahlman grabbed a pack and set out to hike as accurately as possible Daniel Boone’s original trace.
In A Familiar Wilderness, Dahlman illustrates that the Wilderness Road is more than an old track through Appalachia. Many of the towns grew up along Boone’s original footpath, and people in these areas can draw direct connections to Boone himself or to other early settlers who traversed this trans-Appalachian route. Dahlman uses these and other encounters to uncover the history of the Wilderness Road and show how we are all a product of our past.
The hospitality of strangers becomes especially instrumental in making Dahlman’s hike come alive. Robert, one such stranger, offers to personally guide Dahlman over Powell Mountain. As they make their ascent, Robert provides a splendid view of the mountain, blending careful observation of their surroundings with deep knowledge of the place. A finale to Dahlman’s almost 300-mile hike occurs on Hackberry Ridge overlooking Fort Boonesborough State Park—a fitting tribute to Boone’s own arrival on the ridge famously overlooking a herd of buffalo.
A Familiar Wilderness takes readers on a winding path where geography, history, and local memory intersect with daily life, and Dahlman’s lively writing, sensitive to every detail, will bring readers into thrilling touch with a past that still shapes and challenges the present.
About the Author
Simon J. (“Jim”) Dahlman is Professor of Communications and Humanities at Milligan College, Tennessee, where he has taught since 1999. He teaches courses in journalism, creative nonfiction, media law and ethics, and humanities, and is the faculty adviser for The Stampede, Milligan’s student-run news outlet. He also serves as chair of the Performing, Visual, and Communicative Arts Area.
Dahlman holds a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction from Goucher College, a Master of Arts in English (editing and publishing) from the University of Cincinnati, and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Bible and humanities from Milligan College. He has also studied at Emmanuel Christian Seminary, Springdale College in Birmingham, England, and the London School of Journalism.
A long-time reporter, columnist, and editor, Dahlman continues to work as a freelance journalist and author. His work has appeared in several American and British publications, including The Guardian (UK), the Cincinnati Enquirer, and Leadership. Prior to teaching at Milligan, Dahlman served as editor-at-large with Focus on the Family Periodicals (1998–99), founding editor of Pastor’s Family magazine (1996–98), and editor of The Lookout (1990–96). He is a member of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communications, College Media Advisers, and the Appalachian Studies Association.
Sunday, June 30, 2019 - 3:00pm
517 Union Ave.
Knoxville, TN 37902