Trinity University Press

The Animal One Thousand Miles Long

Seven Lengths of Vermont and Other Adventures

Leath Tonino (author)

Debut collection of essays from a young writer celebrating Vermont

The phrase “an animal a thousand miles miles long,” attributed to Aristotle, refers to a sprawling body that cannot be seen in its entirety from a single angle. For Leath Tonino, that animal is the landscape of his native Vermont. Tonino grew up along the shores of Lake Champlain, situated between Vermont’s Green Mountains and New York’s Adirondacks. His career as a nature and travel writer has taken him across the country, but he always turns his eye back on his home state. “All along,” he writes, “I’ve been exploring various parts of the animal, trying to make a prose map of its body—not to understand it in a conclusive or definitive way but rather to celebrate it, to hint at its possibilities.”

This fragmented yet deep search is the overarching theme of the twenty essays in The Animal One Thousand Miles Long. Tonino posits that geography, natural history, human experience, local traditions, seasons, and especially atypical outings—on skis, bicycles, sleds, and boogie boards—can open us to a place and simultaneously open a place to us. He looks closely at what he calls huge-small Vermontbut his underlying mission is to demonstrate our collective need to better understand the meaning of place, especially the places we call home and think we know best. From Laredo to Jackson Hole, San Francisco to Burlington, his sensibility is applicable to us all.

In his signature piece, “Seven Lengths of Vermont,” Tonino traverses the state in seven ways—a twenty-day hike, 500 miles on a bicycle, a thirty-six-ride hitchhiking tour, 260 miles in a canoe, ten days swimming Lake Champlain, a three-week ski trek, and a two-hour “vast and fast” flyover.

As Bill Brysons A Walk in the Woods did for the Appalachian Trail and Peter Mayles A Year in Provence did for the South of France, Toninos affinity for his home gives a new perspective on the Green Mountain State. His infectious love of the outdoors should inspire us to explore the places outside our own front door.


  • Designated as Finalist 2019 Banff Mountain Book Competition Awards
  • Designated as Finalist Vermont Book Award


“Anyone who loves Vermont will want this on her bookshelf—a funny, smart, and novel look at the Green Mountains.   ”

Bill McKibben, author of Radio Free Vermont

“In The Animal One Thousand Miles Long, Leath Tonino draws a lyrical map for Vermont with a voice that is part scientist, part poet, part historian, and part adventurer. Tonino’s map shows us not the major cities and highest peaks but the lesser known places and ideas at the heart of Vermont—the abandoned towns, uncommon sports, and forgotten people.”

Sean Prentiss, author of Finding Abbey

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The Animal One Thousand Miles Long cover
  • Price: $17.95
  • Pages: 208
  • Size: 8 X 5
  • Published: Sep 2018
  • Status: Available
  • ISBN: 9781595348586
  • Price: $17.95
  • Published: Sep 2018
  • Status: Available
  • ISBN: 9781595348593


Nature, Memoir, Regional