Mixing observations, in-depth research, and vivid prose, Thurston explores the region’s geologic, ecologic, and cultural history, from the plate tectonics that created the landscape millions of years ago to the recent legislation protecting the degraded waterways of the east coast. Barrett’s gorgeous color photographs of land, sea, and sky supplement Thurston’s vivid descriptions, reminding us of our country’s great beauty.
–- Publishers Weekly
Photo: The Atlantic Coast

Winner of the Dartmouth Book Award for Non-Fiction, the Evelyn Richardson Memorial Non-Fiction Award and the Lane Anderson Award.

The North Atlantic coast of North America—commonly known as the Atlantic Coast—extends from Newfoundland and Labrador through the Maritime Provinces and the Northeastern United States south to Cape Hatteras. This North Atlantic region belongs to the sea. The maritime influence on climate, flora, and fauna is dominant—even far inland. This is where the great northern boreal forests intermingle with the mixed coniferous-hardwood forests farther south and where the cold, iceberg-studded Labrador Current from the Arctic and the warm Gulf Stream of the tropics vie for supremacy.

Filled with stunning photographs, the book includes chapters on the geological origins of this region, the two major forest realms, and the main freshwater and marine ecosystems and also describes the flora and fauna within each of these habitats. Finally, it looks at what has been lost but also what remains of the natural heritage of the region and how that might be conserved in future.

Written by the Atlantic region's best-known nature writer, The Atlantic Coast draws upon the most up-to-date science on the ecology of the region as well as the author's lifetime experience as a biologist and naturalist. It is both a personal tribute and an accessible, comprehensive guide to an intriguing ecosystem.

You can buy this book online at or, or find it at your local bookstore.

Listen to Harry Thurston discuss the wonders of the Atlantic Coast on CBC.