Book Review: Idaho authors tell fascinating wilderness tales

February 2, 2014 

  • MERCILESS EDEN

    by Doug Tims and Phyllis Tims (contributor); Ferry Media Publishing ($19.95)

Publisher’s synopsis: Many sought to carve an existence from the unforgiving wilds of Idaho’s Salmon River Canyon, giving their lives in quest of sanctuary from the growing demands of industrial America. All failed until Joe Zaunmiller, a son of German immigrants, marshaled his pioneer skills to share the bounty of the wilderness with others. Perched on the bleeding edge between civilization and the wild, Campbell’s Ferry Ranch witnesses the battle over where America will stop development and preserve this vestige of paradise for generations to come.

Now comes Doug Tims, passionate river-runner and outfitter, and Phyllis Tims, retired fine arts dean and dancer, who have figured out that the best and perhaps only way to preserve Campbells Ferry is to reach deep into its past, to study it, learn it and understand it.

My take: From the first to the last page of this book, the Tims’ love of the Idaho wilderness draws you into the story of this small Idaho paradise. They write an historical account of Campbells Ferry, an isolated section of the Idaho wilderness almost exactly in the center of Idaho.

I enjoyed learning more stories about Idaho’s rough and tumble history, and most of them were new to me, which made them all the more fascinating. As a counterpoint to the history, Doug Tims intersperses his and his wife’s present-day story in Campbells Ferry as they try to preserve the historical homestead.

If you’re a lover of history, or simply one who enjoys a good story, you will find “Merciless Eden: A River of No Return Wilderness Homestead, Both Beautiful and Brutal, and the History of the Pioneers Who Sought to Tame This Merciless Eden” worth the read.

My Rating: 5 out of 5

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