Content warning CW: discussion of misleading historical accounts of the colonization of America
Mixed feelings about this book. It answered a lot of questions I had about the old stone walls in New England, but it has some problems as well.
The main problem is that the author seems to have an extremely rosy picture of the colonization of America. This is something you can ignore at first — the book is about the stone walls, which were built by the colonizers after all — but becomes worryingly apparent further through the book. Even ignoring some linguistic choices that are quite horrific to anyone actually familiar with the history (describing "tensions" between colonizers and natives, choose to use the term ""tame" Indian" and thinking it's a fine description because you put the word "tame" in quotes), it's extremely strange to write a book that talks so much about the ecological destruction involved in bringing European-style agriculture to America while only mentioning in passing once that there already were native agriculture systems, that looked quite different from the European ones.
Other than that, my main complaint is that this book is longer than it needs to be, something that particularly annoys me in short books, apparently. This could have been an incredible 100 page book, but instead there's a lot of repetition and asides on things that are quite uninteresting to me.
I still would recommend this book to someone curious about these walls, with these caveats, but I'm sad I can't recommend it more widely than that. Most people aren't very interested in old stone walls, after all.