MONTAGUE – The Friends of the Montague Library series  summer ZOOM book talks continues with the biography of George Shiras III titled “Camera Hunter”.

Author James H. McCommons will present the tale of Shiras’s life through an illustrated presentation with stories of hunting in the Upper Peninsula and a number of his finest wildlife photos.

After the presentation at 7:00 pm on Wed. July 15, McCommons will appear live to answer questions.

Winner of a Michigan Notable Book Award for 2020, McCommons teaches journalism and nature writing as a tenured professor at Northern Michigan University. His career began with a photography major at the Art Institute of Boston and a B.A. in creative writing from the University of Pittsburgh.

His work included newspaper writing, corporate communications, freelance journalism, and health writing. During that time he also earned an M.A. in magazine journalism from Syracuse University and an M.S. in environmental science from the College of Environmental Science and Forestry at State University of New York.

McCommons’s first book was “Waiting on a Train: The Embattled Future of Passenger Rail.” Published in 2009, it was named by The Library Journal as a “Best Pick for Fall” and one of its best books of 2009. He has also written hundreds of general interest magazine articles covering his interests in ecology, environment, and travel topics.

His study of George Shiras III’s life (1859-1942) begins with notable family heritage in the brewery business, proceeds through Shiras’s love of the Upper Peninsula starting at age 10, and covers interactions with a number of interesting characters, including Jack LaPete, who introduced him to fire hunting near Whitefish Lake.

Since flash bulbs were only invented in the 1930s, Shiras used his early hunting experiences to invent his own version of night photography of wildlife, well before his first publication of photos in the 1890’s.

Not only did Shiras publish in the infancy of National Geographic Magazine, but he also won a gold medal at the 1900 World’s Fair. Later, he served in Congress as a reformer and progressive, becoming a strong advocate for wildlife protection. Closely involved with a bill to protect migratory birds, he advocated for hunting seasons, bag limits, and outlawing spring hunting. Later, he helped promote The Bird Treaty of 1919 with Mexico and Canada.

To access the book talk, find the ZOOM link on the Muskegon Area District Library’s website (madl.org) near the bottom of the Home Page, under News and Events. You can click on the ZOOM link there at 7:00 pm to join the presentation hosted by Bryan Uecker, owner of the Book Nook and Java Shop in Montague, who is moderator for the evening. An alternate access to the book talk is at booknookjavashop.com: scroll to the Friends of the Montague Library Book Talks and click on the link “Book Talk Zoom Here.”

During this challenging time, the Friends of the Montague Library are delighted to partner with MADL and the Montague Branch Library, where you can borrow books, and the Book Nook Java Shop, where you can order books to purchase in person by phone or online.

The last presentation of the series, July 22 at 7 pm, will be a live interview with Pulitzer-Prize-winning author David Maraniss about his recent Michigan Notable award-winning non-fiction “A Good American Family”.

For more information, call the Montague Branch Library at 231-893-2675.



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