Joe Dodge: One New Hampshire Institution. William L. Putnam. Phoenix Publishing, Canaan, New Hampshire, 1986. 184 pages, 60 photographs, appendixes. $16.00.
This is the story of a unique White Mountain character, famous across the nation—and a legend in his own bailiwick. The narrative is carried in the words of Joe—‘Hizzoner’ to the employees of the Appalachian Mountain Club—as told to the author in numerous conversations over a span of thirty-five years.
This book provides a remarkable source of mountain information, mostly about the White Mountains, but contains references to illustrious members of The American Alpine Club, past and present.
It recounts many of the amusing, occasionally obscene, generally irreverent anecdotes which made Dodge famous—and which were mostly true. Yet this reviewer is convinced the author has selective memory because he left out at least half of the salty and even now unprintable adjectives with which Joe punctuated every sentence. But maybe that is just as well.
The author has also tastefully passed over some of the less distinguished aspects of Joe’s career in the White Mountains. None of us are perfect, and neither was he. The text refers to the problems Joe encountered, but in a manner that leaves the reader aware but unburdened.
This is an easy book to read and is sprinkled with historic photographs, many of them taken by Brad Washburn, himself another New England institution. The author has done us all a great service—and obviously had fun in the process. As one who knew Joe Dodge, too, I found this book delightful and very nostalgic.
Samuel H. Goodhue