An Inquiry into the Private Ownership of Land

John Hanson Mitchell

Trespassing, “a thoughtful, beautifully written addition to environmental and regional literature” (Kirkus Reviews), is a historical survey of the evolution of private ownership of land, concentrating on the various land uses of a 500-acre tract of land over a 350-year period. What began as wild land controlled periodically by various Native American tribes became British crown land after 1654, then private property under US law, and finally common land again in the late twentieth century. Mitchell considers every aspect of the important issue of land ownership and explores how our attitudes toward land have changed over the centuries.

Cover Image of Trespassing: An Inquiry into the Private Ownership of Land
Paper: $22.95 | E-book: $14.99
ISBN-13: 9781611687194
Pages: 320 | Size: 6 in. x 9.25 in.
Date Published: April 22, 2015


  • A Thoreauvian wanderer . . . an engaging writer . . . a very big subject with serious ramifications.

    Washington Post Book World
  • The beauty of the book also lies in Mitchell’s intimacy with the tract of land … the depth of the setting deepens the reader’s feel for the humans that populate it.


About the Author

JOHN HANSON MITCHELL is the author of five books based on a single square mile known as Scratch Flat, as well as two travel books and the biography of the early African American landscape photographer Robert A. Gilbert. A winner of the John Burroughs Award for his nature essays, Mitchell was founder and editor of Sanctuary magazine, published by the Massachusetts Audubon Society. In 2000 he won the New England Book Award in nonfiction for his Scratch Flat series. He lives in Littleton, Massachusetts, the location of Scratch Flat.

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