THE BOOK OF WOODEN BOATS photographs by Benjamin Mendlowitz, text by Maynard Bray (Norton: $50; 191 pp.) . Resting peacefully at her moorings with her masts and rigging framing the sunset like a stained-glass window, or straining to her limits in wind and waves, the classic wooden boat is a powerful symbol of human excellence and grace in harmony with the natural world. That is why this book will bring pleasure to a wide audience, not only those already bitten by the fierce wooden-boat bug.
More than 200 photographs include boats from Maine to San Francisco, from the Bahamas to Scotland; catboats, ketches, yawls, schooners, power boats and canoes, built from the 1880s to the 1980s. Marine photographer Benjamin Mendlowitz has a passion for his subject, acquired over a lifetime, and the technical and aesthetic skills to truly reveal a boat's "soul."