Douglas Whynott

Selected Works

"Who knew that behind the calendar image lay a veritable factory of the woods, a big business fraught with striving and skulduggery and interesting characters. In Doug Whynott's graceful hands, this story about a maple syrup manufacturer and dealer becomes an intersection of subjects: of technology and business, American history and climate change, friendship and family.”—Tracy Kidder, author of Mountains Beyond Mountains and co-author of Good Prose
"Biography and autobiography, popular science and travel writing, the history of beekeeping and the natural history of bees... Whynott excites our wonder."
The New York Times Book Review
"Whynott portrays these 'true sons of the whalers of old' with sympathy and understanding in a book filled with depth and drama."
–Andrea Barrett, Outside
"Whynott's attention transcends his ostensible subject until it becomes a profound look at the human condition."
San Francisco Chronicle
"Probably the best introduction to veterinary life since James Herriot."

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The Sugar Season
“Once again, Douglas Whynott demonstrates his uncanny ability to open up what seems to be ordinary and reveal it as something much more than we ever could have imagined. In this case, it’s the maple syrup industry, and Whynott take us from the metal bucket hanging on a tree into a world of currency bets, Global Strategic Reserves, climate change, and international trade. It’s quite a story, and quite a book.” –Daniel Okrent, author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition

Following the Bloom
"Like John McPhee writing on oranges, Whynott demonstrates that an accomplished and fervent author can tell readers more than they would have wanted to know about a seemingly mundane subject. In this enthralling book, bees... and the migratory beekeeping business... are captured in prose that, although factual, evokes transcendental contemplation and daydream."
Booklist, starred review

Giant Bluefin
"Mr. Whynott, an 11th generation Cape Codder, celebrates the wonder of these fish most expressively in these pages... In this eloquent book, Mr. Whynott holds science up to reality. He leaves the reader rooting hard for the survival of the giant bluefin, 'fish of show, splendor and speed,' as he makes clear. But unusually enough, he also leaves you rooting hard for the people."
–Christopher Lehmann-Haupt, The New York Times

A Unit of Water, A Unit of Time
"With understated grace, the author evokes a sense of the maritime community as well as a fierce devotion to boats and a love of the sea, which emerges as an almost mystical form of communion with nature and the cosmos... E. B. White would have approved of this quietly profound book; it's a real beauty."
Publisher's Weekly

A Country Practice
"Whynott's portrayals are moving and involving. He is a most invisible observer. This is an absorbing inside look at a changing profession between a veteran owner, an experienced young man with ambitions of his own, and a neophyte struggling to find her place. A book to be enjoyed by anyone who likes animals and a must for aspiring veterinarians."
--Lynn Harnett, The Portsmouth Herald

From True Stories--A Century of Literary Journalism, by Norman Sims:
"An accomplished master of the literary journalism of everyday life is Douglas Whynott. He has written about beekeepers (Following the Bloom), fishermen (Giant Bluefin), a wooden boatbuilder in Maine (A Unit of Water, A Unit of Time: Joel White's Last Boat), and a veterinarian with a small practice in a tiny New Hampshire town (A Country Practice). No one gets killed in these books. People don't commit crimes. They aren't celebrities. Why should we be interested in these lives? They aren't any different from our own lives. Well, exactly...Whynott spends a great deal of time with people, discovers their narratives, and then structures his stories so readers can identify with the characters. In A Country Practice, for example, the young vet Erika Bruner represents the new person struggling to acquire knowledge and a workable attitude, then working hard to overcome her challenges. Each of us in our own way can identify with her feelings."