AUBURN — A mysterious man comes to a small Maine town with lots of money and the FBI on his heels. If you’re intrigued, visit the Auburn Public Library at 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 12, to hear author Jeffrey Ryan tell the true life tale of Jim Whyte who he profiled in his new book, “Hermit: The Mysterious Life of Jim Whyte.”

When Jim Whyte settled outside the slate mining town of Monson, Maine, in 1895, people hardly knew what to make of him. And almost 130 years later, we still don’t. A world traveler who spoke six languages fluently, Whyte came to town with sacks full of money and a fierce desire to keep to himself. It was clear that Whyte was hiding from something — enough to make even the FBI eventually come looking. But even the Feds couldn’t imagine how Whyte, who lost every penny he had when World War I broke out, amassed another fortune before he died. Based on the true story, Hermit follows one man’s quest to discover all he can about Whyte’s secret life before it’s too late.

Ryan is an author, adventurer, photographer and historian. He has written several books about his outdoor exploits, his fascination with hiking trails and the people and places found just off the beaten path. His debut book, “Appalachian Odyssey: A 28-Year Hike on America’s Trail,” was hailed by the former executive editor of National Geographic as “a classic of nature and travel writing” and set off a national tour (in a 1985 VW camper, no less).

His books are known for weaving a deep appreciation for history into walks across contemporary landscapes that give readers the feeling they are hiking right alongside. When Ryan isn’t trekking, chasing down a great story or spinning yarns from his keyboard, he enjoys sharing his adventures with audiences who love the outdoors. He spends much of his time in his beloved native state of Maine.

The Auburn Public Library is at 49 Spring St.

Jeffrey Ryan Submitted photo

“Hermit: The Mysterious Life of Jim Whyte” by Jeffrey Ryan. Submitted photo

 


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