We all have our favourite authors — in sailing, it would have to be Lin and Larry Pardey or Hal Roth or Eric Hiscock. In reenacting, I am a fan of Mark Baker who writes about the colonial period and his search for the “Longhunter” or woodsman. He has a lot of fans due to his smooth writing style. He has a good way of saying things… the words just roll off the page. He has certain ways that he does things. And he has a lot of people, like myself, who enjoy his writings. No, I don’t want to go out and do a period trek myself. I like the woods, but period camping is not so much my thing. To each his own. I like to shoot black powder and Mark’s articles on how to do things like they did back then are very interesting.
I was looking for something about Mark’s videos (yes, he has some) and ran accross some Mark-hate. I had forgotten about that. A few years ago, I had seen a lot of snarky comments on some muzzleloading websites. As I read them again, it struck me that some people are just wankers. Mainly it’s sour grapes, but often, its a backlash against something that is “too popular.” I’ve never understood that — I remember back in the day when everyone had an Oakley (sunglasses) sticker on their car and I saw some inbred (yes, truly) with a home-made “Oakleys suck!” sign on his raggedy-ass car. I remember thinking “No, they aren’t — dumbass!” — same kinda thing. A lot of these guys get mad at all the people who follow Mark Baker’s methods… now, he says himself that he doesn’t know everything and he does shoot for the most “common impression,” yet too many people of the doofus class have to strike out against those who have actually DONE something in their life. Maybe that’s it. Probably.
No matter what, Mark seems to try and help people and this drive, to me, makes him a true teacher and mentor. Again, this strikes jealousy in many.
So, if you want to learn about the common longhunter of the 18th century and how to emulate his life, you can’t go wrong reading Mark Baker’s books and/or watch his videos. BTW, you can buy his videos from American Pioneer Video at www.americanpioneervideo.com… You can buy his books in my bookstore on reenactor.Net here: reenactor.Net’s Frontier Area Bookstore and Reading list.
I’ll stop now before I start getting hate mail (which, btw, is often entertaining).