Untamed. Unsupervised. Uncontrolled.
Boyhood in the 1960s and ‘70s was a time for exploration and mischief. Author Michael Tougias found more than his share of misadventures in the woods and on the water: some life-threatening but others innocently hilarious.
Over time – and after reading a multitude of adventure books -- these experiences took shape in his quest to be a mountain man, owning a cabin in the forest and living off the land. Part of that dream would come true, but only after a family tragedy that shook his world and forced changes in his life.
This is also a story of a complex and strained relationship between father and son, the efforts at understanding, and ultimately respect and devotion.
In The Waters Between Us Tougias channels Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods” to mix laugh out loud humor with insight into the natural world through the eyes of a curious boy.
Tougias is a New York Times Bestselling author and co-author of 31 books, including There’s A Porcupine In My Outhouse (Winner of the Independent Publishers “Best Nature Book of the Year”) and The Finest Hours (inspiration for a 2016 Disney movie). He has received many writing awards.
Michael Tougias is a writer who was born in Longmeadow, Massachusetts in 1955. He writes about maritime, travel, and adventure topics. He is a N.Y. Times Bestselling author of 25 books. An avid fisherman, Tougias became a self-syndicated outdoors writer in 1990. At the time he was also managing a division of a major insurance company. He published the first of his books in 1998. He travels to more than 100 small and large speaking engagements a year to discuss his books and other topics, including "Survival Stories," lessons learned from those who were shipwrecked. U.S. Coast Guardsmen and sailors are frequent audiences; Tougias' last six books have been accounts of historic sea rescues by the Coast Guard, often in the Gulf Stream. His book The Finest Hours: The True Story Behind the US Coast Guard's Most Daring Rescue (2009), co-authored with Casey Sherman, was adapted as a Disney film by the same name, released in 2016.Tougias is a frequent guest on NPR programs, The Weather Channel, Fox & Friends, 20/20, and national talk shows.
He lives in Mendon, Massachusetts and Hobe Sound, Florida.
“The Waters Between Us is a song of praise to the outdoors, an apology for boyhood misunderstandings, and a loving appreciation for a father whose grace, joy and kindness remained steadfast in the face of tragedy. Young Michael Tougias reminds me of Huck Finn, and it's great fun to accompany him on his river adventures. But even more rewarding is the compassion he has gained in hindsight. You'll be grateful to the boy, the man he became, and the father who quietly nurtured them both for this unforgettable memoir.”—Sy Montgomery, National Book Award Finalist and NY Times Bestselling Author of Soul of an Octopus
“More than just another outdoors book, Michael explores the complex and often challenging relationship between a father and son that any father or son can relate to. This book will make you smile, laugh and nod your head in agreement. The natural world is Michael’s place of inspiration and solace and healing and this book will take you there too.”—Tom Reed, author of Give Me Mountains for My Horses and Columnist for TROUT magazine
“I loved it! Tougias’s wonderful memoir celebrates a time before cell phones and social media cluttered our lives; when a kid could drape a fishing rod across the handlebars of his bike and find high adventure in the woods and streams around him.”—Stephen Sautner, author of Fish On, Fish Off and A Cast in the Woods
"Reading “The Waters Between Us” is like sitting down and listening to Tougias spin yarns of his sometimes harrowing (mis)adventures during his youth. Some of the predicaments are nail-biting, such as a near-death experience where he and his friend get tossed into a freezing gorge while rafting down Vermont’s Huntington River. But throughout, Tougias tells of his misadventures so amusingly that you keep turning the page to see what kind of trouble he will get into next."
—Abby Remer, Martha's Vineyard Times
“A coming of age story that everyone will enjoy because it is so well written.”—WBZ Book Club, New England’s most powerful radio station
“As if channeling Huckleberry Finn, Henry David Thoreau and James Dean, Tougias has written a funny, insightful and finally profound autobiography”—Metro West Daily News
“Tougias tells of his misadventures so amusingly that you keep turning the page to see what kind of trouble he will get into next. And the yearning for a close relationship [with his father] wends its way throughout the book. “Many of the adventures caused my father to question my sanity, and tested his patience … I was a wild kid and a magnet for trouble,” writes the author. “I learned a lot from him — not by talking but by observing.” – Martha's Vineyard Times
“When a life-altering tragedy strikes his family after an event of shared happiness, Tougias artfully weaves together memories of his father's and mother's tireless devotion. In this touching memoir, Tougias comically and poignantly describes his long struggle to reach across that gulf that separated him from all he needed to finally find peace.” – Gannett News
“Tougias’ travels encourage reflection of our own childhoods and passages while eagerly turning his pages, immersed in new adventures, lamenting only that each page turned brings us closer to his last.” – Outdoor Columnist Todd Corayer “Fish Wrap”
“Much of the books emotional power comes from Tougias success evoking his special places…” — The Cape Codder
“It’s a story with plenty of comical moments but “The Waters Between Us” also recounts a tragedy that brought a reckoning for Tougias and his family — and his father’s response to that incident gave his son a better appreciation for his dad’s values and ultimately brought the two closer.” – Daily Hampshire Gazette
“Tougias carries readers through his itchy adolescence to his restless young adulthood by skillfully balancing his comic misadventures with a deepening passion for nature as a source of joy and peace that often eludes him elsewhere.”— Country Gazette
Bestselling author Michael J. Tougias (whose 34 books include “There’s a Porcupine in My Outhouse” and co-writing “The Finest Hours”) recounts years of misadventures in the woods and on the water (both dangerous and comical) and his goal to live in a cabin and become “a mountain man.” The book also looks at a family tragedy that changed Tougias’ life, and explores his complex relationship with his father: “the journey from misunderstanding, disappointment, and hostility to love, acceptance and admiration.” -- Cape Cod Times
"Bestselling author Michael J. Tougias (whose 34 books include 'There’s a Porcupine in My Outhouse' and co-writing 'The Finest Hours') recounts years of misadventures in the woods and on the water (both dangerous and comical) and his goal to live in a cabin and become 'a mountain man.' The book also looks at a family tragedy that changed Tougias’ life, and explores his complex relationship with his father: 'the journey from misunderstanding, disappointment, and hostility to love, acceptance and admiration.'" —Cape Cod Times
“Tougias’ travels encourage reflection of our own childhoods and passages while eagerly turning his pages, immersed in new adventures, lamenting only that each page turned brings us closer to his last.” – Outdoor Columnist Todd Corayer“Fish Wrap”
“Much of the books emotional power comes from Tougias success evoking his special places…”—The Cape Codder
"The only task quite so fraught as a boy negotiating his relationship with his father is that of a father negotiating his relationship with his son. Three books offer variations on the eternal theme.
"In Michael Tougias’s memoir, “The Waters Between Us” (Lyons, 240 pages, $26.95), the author writes about growing up as a rambunctious boy in the 1960s, the last time parents sent their children outdoors with no instructions except not to do anything stupid and to be home by dark. Mr. Tougias usually managed the second part.
"The book is about his outdoor adventures, the troubled relationship between a “spirited” boy and his father, and the healing power of the natural world. It’s in no way a knock against Mr. Tougias as a writer to say that a photo in the book most succinctly sums up this situation. It shows young Michael in his bedroom looking at the camera as his father holds up a small bass that the boy has caught. The father, in profile, is laughing or smiling, delighting in his son’s delight. And Michael does look triumphant, even if he’s still fearful of holding the fish himself. But there’s something in his eyes—a wildness, almost a mania—that hints at the rocky road ahead. A kid with undiagnosed ADHD (it was the ’60s) who will set school records for detention? Check. A kid who confounds—seemingly tortures—his parents with his inability to follow the simplest of rules? Check. A kid who will nearly drown playing on the too-thin ice of a pond, who’ll nearly be swept out to sea in a riptide in Maine, who’ll nearly perish on a stupid run down a raging river in a kid’s rubber raft? Check, check and check.
"Along with his father’s love, the other constant in the boy’s life—and the thing Mr. Tougias credits with saving him from more serious trouble—is his love of the outdoors, a dynamo of fascination and adventure, a place that draws him back endlessly. Always in the background is his father, who leaves the house before anyone else is awake and labors physically for 50 or 60 hours a week, coming home too exhausted to attend his son’s games. Michael knows his father loves him but isn’t sure the man likes him, which is what he craves. As anyone who has played a part in this ancient drama knows, there’s no single moment of reconciliation. It comes with time, incrementally. And it’s not the father who changes."
—Ben Wiseman, The Wall Street Journal