Author Q&A: Jay Leutze

June 13, 2012

In “Stand Up That Mountain: The Battle to Save One Small Community in the Wilderness Along the Appalachian Trail,” author and attorney Jay Leutze chronicles a five-year struggle to shut down an illegal mining operation near his home in the mountains of western North Carolina. Leutze and his grass-roots coalition would eventually take the case to the state’s highest courts and prevent the destruction of a treasured portion of unspoiled land near the Appalachian Trail.

Leutze recently spoke about writing, navigating the legal system and the connection between conservation work and good storytelling.

Q: You worked on what would come to be known as the Putnam mine case for almost five years, essentially as a volunteer. Did you have other work at that time, any income for the legal bills that were mounting?


No. I’d had a job after law school and saved money. So I had just burrowed down in the mountain and reduced my expenses as much as I could. I began living this very simple life.

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