Reviews - What do customers think about Jerusalem Creek: Journeys Into Driftless Country?
Spring Creek Aesthetic: WI-style Apr 24, 2004
This book, along with Mr Leeson's The Habit of Rivers, is among the best fly fishing literature of our epoch. As pointed out by another reviewer, this is not a book about "slaying lumkers" or "hot spots" and will indeed be a disappointment to some of our hook and bullet brethren. (Corinne Smith's review above, howvere, is spot-on and I wont repeat the sentiments here). Mr Leeson's subject is man "figuring himself out and his place in the world" (my words)seen through WI Spring Creeks. Leeson is highly intelligent and writes exceedingly well. I would place this work with other by Datus Proper, Frank Mele, Sparse Gray Hackle, Bill Barich, Russell Chatham - ie, the best and most refined in our sporting world. Highly recommended but will disapoint the committed meat fisherman...........
Wonderfully Captured the small spring creek experience Dec 22, 2002
Ted Leeson captured the experience of fishing the intimate spring creeks of Wisconsin's Driftless area. I like to think I share more than a few parallels with the author's experience. Once an active fisher of Wisconsin's spring creeks, I know rarely get to return. Their magic isn't in large fish or even pastoral setting though both certainly do exist. I think the author wonderfully explains how these creeks glory is in their intimacy. They feel "cozy" yet are never necessarily the same. I think the story should appeal to people who've never fished the spring creeks of WI but just enjoy a wonderfully told story about a kid growing up fishing familiar streams whose now long removed from those streams but the streams never leave your memories.
Jerusalem Creek Dec 19, 2002
Sure could tell English professor wrote it. Was way too fluffy. Lots of slow places. Not enough description of the fishing experience.
A fly-fisherman's view of Midwestern natural history Sep 23, 2002
Ted Leeson seems to have spent most of his life coaxing trout out of forested pools of water. From his current home on the west coast, he thinks back to his youth and the spring creeks he and friends used to fish in southwestern Wisconsin. That small region is called "driftless" in geological terms; it's the only part of the state that escaped the flow of the last glacier and thus has more rolling hills and valleys than the rest of the central and upper Midwest. Leeson's reminiscences are supplemented with casual factual information about glacial and nonglacial geology, the science of meandering water, the differences between freestone rivers and spring creeks, the known history of fly-fishing, the Amish methods of sustainable agriculture, and concerns about private ownership of waterways. Interjected bits of natural wisdom provide food for thought: "It is no coincidence that the salinity of blood and seawater are the same." Now there's a nugget to throw to the next person you see.
Throughout the book's journey, we remember along with him, back to youthful days and times spent with good friends. While the author admits he might not be much of a fisherman -- his first attempt at casting practice in his backyard snagged a small boy from the neighborhood -- he's good at sharing his memories and life observations with us. He paints scenes with words to give us landscapes based in text, not oils. Jerusalem Creek and Emerald Creek (sobriquets to protect their real identities) contained "trout of the usual two varieties: the kind we could catch, which were scarce, and the kind we could not, which were abundant." Stream-side attacks by territorial red-winged blackbirds were not uncommon. Now living in Oregon, this displaced Cheesehead still waxes poetic about his homeland: "[T]hough the state may not be precisely in the middle of the country, the human heart too is somewhat north and east of center."
One gets the distinct impression that Leeson wrote this book as a tribute to a brother now gone. Though the topic is not fully addressed, there are hints at loss and at having "a hole in your heart." And that's OK, the way it reads. If he relayed his personal history to us over a few cold ones in a nearby tavern, we'd probably be polite enough not to ask the direct questions. But we'd always wonder what really happened. And here the reader is also kept wondering.
When Leeson and his comrades return as adults to fish in Jerusalem Creek, the memories and realities come full circle. They see that while things are not quite the same, it is not necessarily the place that is different.