Zachary Michael Jack

Zachary Michael Jack
Zachary Michael Jack is the author of many books on place, the outdoors, and the environment, including most recently The Haunt of Home: A Journey Through America’s Heartland.

Recent Essays

Forget Red vs. Blue, America is Cactus vs. Philodendron

Is there a direct causal connection between America’s embrace of succulents and semi-succulents as houseplants-of-choice and the conspicuous mass movement of Americans to states with the least amount of rainfall? Maybe not, but the correlation gives us strong cause to consider.

The Life of Tiger: A Midwesterner’s View

Woods may be Californian by birth, and a Floridian by residence, but I believe there’s something in his latest comeback capable of stirring the soul of even the most reticent, celebrity-wary Middle American.

Early-Alerting Early-Alert Systems on College Campuses

The university’s best, most utopian aims must not beget dystopian early-alert policies that infringe on students’ personal liberties while turning campus into a place where everyone is an informant, and deviations from the norm beget Orwellian intervention.

The Agrarian’s Soul and the Gardener’s Art: Liberty Hyde Bailey Gardener’s Companion

I have no doubt this collection would delight Bailey, dandelions and all. Selecting and anthologizing the work of a writer-scholar as prolific as this is a labor of love as much as caretaking, stewarding, gardening, weeding, and pruning.

Catalonia Could Happen Here

As a scholar of Regional and Place Studies and a historian of secessionist movements I believe Catalonia’s brand of separatism could come to the...

A Call for a Politically Inclusive Classroom

Teaching Tolerance in a Time of Trump sounds like a short-course a firebrand professor might offer, though I mean it in a more comprehensive...

As North Korea Goes Nuclear Far East Ambassadors Must Speak Up

I lived much of my adult life under Terry Branstad’s multiple tenures as governor of Iowa, and I think he did a “pretty fair...

Trump: America’s Father-in-Chief?

Donald Trump has been called many things in the press in the first six months of his presidency, yet the media have thus far...

Trump: America’s First Black Friday President

Like many Americans I’ve struggled to put the election of 2016 in proper perspective the last few weeks, only to arrive at an unexpected...


After the second, town hall-styled presidential debate pundits raved, and perhaps rightly so, about Hilary Clinton’s ability to handle the format. The former first...

Agrarian Fireworks

If you’re like me, holidays leave you feeling unusually contemplative, I suppose because the everyone-is-doing-it mentality awakens in us the long-slumbering cultural anthropologist. Holidays cause me to...

30 More Years of Rootless Professors

In the thirty years since writer-professor Eric Zencey first published his essay “The Rootless Professors” in the Chronicle of Higher Education, much has changed, and...