Russell Shorto

The Frozen Mill

Three years ago I moved to the panhandle of western Maryland. It’s a wild, mountainous region. There are some lovely Victorian town centers, and also hardscrabble hamlets tucked into the valleys that are comprised largely of low-slung ranch houses fronted by chain-link fences and rusted pickup trucks. The past has a way of lingering in such places; there is no economic development to sweep it away, so it just sits there. (My latest post on

photo by dave romero

2 Replies to “The Frozen Mill”

  1. I am living on the Eastern Shore now, in Chestertown. I lived for 13 years in an asylum in Rockville. I have passed through Western Maryland on my way to West Virginia in the spring of 1972. I love the Catoctin Mountains. I am reading your book on Descartes now. Please touch base with em. I am Baird’s older brother, Martin.

    1. russell says:

      Hi Martin. I’m sorry to be so late in replying. I rarely look at messages posted to my website. I used to go to the Eastern Shore on fishing trips with my dad and uncles, so I know it a bit, but it’s worlds away from western Maryland, as you know.

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About the Author

  I was born in Johnstown, Pennsylvania. I have three children (Anna, Eva and Anthony) and three step-children (Reinier, Hector and Benjamin).  I write books of narrative history; I believe history is most meaningful to us when it manifests itself through individuals in conflict. My books have been published in fourteen languages and have won numerous awards.  I am senior scholar at the New Netherland Institute and a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine. My interests include the past, the present and the future, not necessarily in that order.  

photo by Keke Keukelaar