St. Mike’s years part of story in new book by Tougias ’77

In 'The Waters Between Us,' New York Times bestselling author and alumnus recalls his college experiences and his 'love affair' with Vermont before and after

February 11, 2021
Submitted article

Following is publicity for his latest book that Michael Tougias’77 shared with the College this week. Tougias is a New York Times Bestselling author and co-author of 33 books for adults and children:

The taillights of their father’s car disappeared in the darkness, and the two boys sat down by the side of the road. They listened to the strange night sounds of the marsh, the whisper of the trees, frogs croaking, and fear-provoking snap of twigs as something unseen moved there.  It was too dark to begin their planned fishing from the banks of the Connecticut River. The boys, feeling a bit spooked, did the only thing they could think of: they ate the contents of the bagged lunch their mother had so carefully packed.  It was only 5 a.m.


Michael Tougias ’77

Massachusetts bestselling author Michael Tougias describes his younger years and the beginnings of his passion for the outdoors in his new memoir. Tougias says that the book, The Waters Between Us, has three main components.

“I was a wild kid by nature and choice who sought out wild places. That combination invariably led to trouble, misadventure and occasionally joy.  I feel lucky to have grown up in a time when a kid could spend the entire day on their own in the great outdoors with no parent interference.  I learned by trial and error, with no adult ‘expertizing’ about the right way to fish or camp.”

Tougias says the second and third story lines that run through the book involve his father.

“This is also the story of my father and my relationship with him: the journey from misunderstanding, disappointment, and hostility to love, acceptance, and admiration.  His response in the face of adversity and family tragedy is nothing short of remarkable. And finally this is my journey from feeling lost to ultimately finding my place both figuratively and literally.”

Tougias explains that the title hints at the divide with his father but the subtitle adds more clarity. “I wrestled with the title and subtitle, but now I’m happy with the final result: The Waters Between Us: A Boy, A Father, Outdoor Misadventure, and the Healing Power of Nature.”

His years at Saint Michael’s College are also featured in the book, and he discusses how St. Mike’s was the right fit after a difficult year following high school.

The author said he felt very lucky to have received an endorsement from nature writer Sy Montgomery, a National Book Award Finalist. “I had never met Sy, but over the years I admired her work, and she was the first person I asked my publisher to send an advance copy of the book to. She read the book cover to cover, and I was so moved by her endorsement.

Montgomery wrote “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. This is an unforgettable memoir.”

Tougias is the author and co-author of 30 books for adults and 6 for children. His co-written book The Finest Hours became a Disney movie. “There are better writers than me,” says Tougias, “but not too many as versatile. I think I’ve written in every category there is. When I’m writing, my mantra for all my books is make it fast-paced.”

Tougias will be speaking and showing slides about the book on-line via local libraries. Readers can learn more and see some of the images at


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