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Book Roundup Wednesday: Books About Public Lands

Posted Jun 10 2009 6:34pm

Books about environmentalism Every Wednesday, we review a selection of new and upcoming books addressing a specific aspect of environmentalism. Since summer is prime time for outdoor excursions, and with the premiere of Ken Burn’s documentary National Parks: America’s Best Idea on the horizon, this week's books are about the history of our public lands.

  The American People and the National Forests: The First Century of the U.S. Forest Service (by Samuel P. Hays, $28, University of Pittsburgh, Feb. 2009): With its historical focus on timber management, the U.S. Forest Service holds a dubious position for many environmentalists. The author writes about the evolution of this agency, its struggle to embrace more environmental practices, and the Forest Service's relevancy for the 21st century.

An Everglades Providence: Marjory Stoneman Douglas and the American Environmental Century (by Jack E. Davis, $35, University of Georgia, Feb. 2009): Marjory Stoneman Douglas died at a spunky 108 years of age, still speaking out for the Everglades she helped save. In this biography, Douglas’s epic life as journalist, feminist, and indefatigable ecological spokeswoman is used to relate the formation of 20th century environmentalism.

Resurrection: Glen Canyon and a New Vision for the American West (by Annette McGivney, with photographs by James Kay, $30, Braided River, Feb. 2009): When Glen Canyon was dammed in the early '60s, many environmentalists – Sierra Clubbers included – lamented the loss of the Colorado’s canyons, native vegetation, and quintessential wildness. In recent years however, drought and human impact have partially drained Lake Powell, allowing the river to begin to restore itself. This book interweaves full-page pictures with text that conveys the history, resurrection, and beauty of Glen Canyon.

Yellowstone Moran: Painting the American West (by Lita Judge, $17, Viking, Sept. 2009): This historical children’s story tells about a young artist from the city who finagles his way onto an early Yosemite expedition and becomes one of the park’s most influential painters. Award-winning author and illustrator Lita Judge relates the adventure of Moran’s story, from his arrival at Yosemite to when his paintings are used in Congress as testimony to why the park should be saved.  

--Jamie Hansen

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