Dan Chapman in conversation with Melissa Fay Greene - A Road Running Southward Book Launch at Manuel's Tavern

Dan Chapman in conversation with Melissa Fay Greene - A Road Running Southward Book Launch at Manuel's Tavern

Thursday, Jun 02, 2022 7:00 PM

Manuel's Tavern
602 North Highland Avenue, NE
Atlanta, Georgia 30307

"Dan Chapman’s new book is a celebration of America’s nineteenth-century Southern wilderness, and a wake-up call for the beloved, yet endangered, region today. Chapman guides us through a long-ago dazzling, buzzing, glittering world of forests, meadows, rivers, and marshes—dangerously diminished today by urban sprawl and heedless development, but not yet completely vanished from the earth." - Melissa Fay Greene, award-winning author of "Praying for Sheetrock" and "The Temple Bombing" 

A Cappella Books welcomes longtime journalist and writer Dan Chapman to Manuel’s Tavern to celebrate the release of his book, “A Road Running Southward: Following John Muir's Journey through an Endangered Land.” Chapman will appear in conversation with Atlanta’s own Melissa Fay Greene, author of “Praying for Sheetrock.”

This event is free and open to the public, and copies of the book will be available for purchase.  

About the Book

In 1867, John Muir set out on foot to explore the botanical wonders of the South, keeping a detailed journal of his adventures as he traipsed from Kentucky southward to Florida. One hundred and fifty years later, on a similar whim, veteran Atlanta reporter Dan Chapman, distressed by sprawl-driven environmental ills in a region he loves, recreated Muir’s journey to see for himself how nature has fared since Muir’s time. Channeling Muir, he uses humor, keen observation, and a deep love of place to celebrate the South’s natural riches. But he laments that a treasured way of life for generations of Southerners is endangered as long-simmering struggles intensify over misused and dwindling resources. Chapman seeks to discover how Southerners might balance surging population growth with protecting the natural beauty Muir found so special.

Each chapter touches upon a local ecological problem—at-risk species in Mammoth Cave, coal ash in Kingston, Tennessee, climate change in the Nantahala National Forest, water wars in Georgia, aquifer depletion in Florida—that resonates across the South. Chapman delves into the region’s natural history, moving between John Muir’s vivid descriptions of a lush botanical paradise and the myriad environmental problems facing the South today. Along the way he talks to locals with deep ties to the land—scientists, hunters, politicians, and even a Muir impersonator—who describe the changes they’ve witnessed and what it will take to accommodate a fast-growing population without destroying the natural beauty and a cherished connection to nature.

“A Road Running Southward” is part travelogue, part environmental cri de coeur, and paints a picture of a South under siege. It is a passionate appeal, a call to action to save one of the loveliest and most biodiverse regions of the world by understanding what we have to lose if we do nothing.

About the Author

Dan Chapman is a longtime writer, reporter, and lover of the outdoors. He grew up in Washington D.C. and Tokyo, the son of a newspaper man and an English teacher. He worked for Congressional Quarterly, The Winston-Salem Journal, The Charlotte Observer, and The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He has also reported from Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. He currently writes stories about conservation in the South for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. He lives in Decatur, Georgia with his wife Bita and their two boys, Samad and Naveed. This is his first (published) book.

About the Conversation Partner

Melissa Fay Greene is the author of six books of nonfiction, includingn "Praying for Sheetrock (1991) and "The Temple Bombing" (1996).

Melissa’s work has been translated into 12 languages and has been honored with a Guggenheim Fellowship (2015-2016), two National Book Award nominations, a National Book Critics Circle Award nomination, the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award, the Chicago Tribune Heartland Prize, the Southern Book Critics Circle Award, the ACLU National Civil Liberties Award, an Anthony J. Lukacs Book Prize finalist citation, the Hadassah Myrtle Wreath Award, Elle Magazine Readers’ Prize, the Salon Book Prize, a Lyndhurst Foundation Fellowship, the Lillian Smith Book Award, the Georgia Author Award, an honorary doctorate of letters from Emory University in 2010, induction into the Georgia Writers Hall of Fame in 2011, and the Georgia Governor’s Award in the Arts & Humanities in 2013. Her books are taught in high schools, colleges, universities, and graduate schools of journalism nationwide. She has contributed to The New York Times, The New Yorker, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, New York Magazine, Newsweek, LIFE, MS, CNN.com, and other periodicals, and has been a frequent public radio guest. "Sheetrock" was named one of the Top 100 Works of American Journalism of the 20th Century and appeared on Entertainment Weekly’s list of “The New Classics—The 100 Best Books of the Last 25 Years.”