Back in America after twenty years in Britain, Bill Bryson decided to reacquaint himself with his native country by walking the 2,100-mile Appalachian Trail, which stretches from Georgia to Maine. The AT offers an astonishing landscape of silent forests and sparkling lakes—and to a writer with the comic genius of Bill Bryson, it also provides endless opportunities to witness the majestic silliness of his fellow human beings.
For a start there's the gloriously out-of-shape Stephen Katz, a buddy from Iowa along for the walk. Despite Katz's overwhelming desire to find cozy restaurants, he and Bryson eventually settle into their stride, and while on the trail they meet a bizarre assortment of hilarious characters. But A Walk in the Woods is more than just a laugh-out-loud hike. Bryson's acute eye is a wise witness to this beautiful but fragile trail, and as he tells its fascinating history, he makes a moving plea for the conservation of America's last great wilderness. An adventure, a comedy, and a celebration, A Walk in the Woods has become a modern classic of travel literature.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
On the afternoon of August 20, 1910, a battering ram of wind moved through the drought-stricken national forests of Washington, Idaho, and Montana, whipping the hundreds of small blazes burning across the forest floor into a roaring inferno that jumped from treetop to ridge as it raged, destroying towns and timber in the blink of an eye. Forest rangers had assembled nearly ten thousand men to fight the fires, but no living person had seen anything like those flames, and neither the rangers nor anyone else knew how to subdue them. Egan recreates the struggles of the overmatched rangers against the implacable fire with unstoppable dramatic force, and the larger story of outsized president Teddy Roosevelt and his chief forester, Gifford Pinchot, that follows is equally resonant. Pioneering the notion of conservation, Roosevelt and Pinchot did nothing less than create the idea of public land as our national treasure, owned by every citizen. Even as TR's national forests were smoldering they were saved: The heroism shown by his rangers turned public opinion permanently in favor of the forests, though it changed the mission of the forest service in ways we can still witness today.
This e-book includes a sample chapter of SHORT NIGHTS OF THE SHADOW CATCHER.
We've all experienced America's changing natural landscape as the integrity of our forests, seacoasts, and river valleys succumbs to strip malls, new roads, and subdivisions. Too often, we assume that when land is developed it is forever lost to the natural world--or hope that a patchwork of local conservation strategies can somehow hold up against further large-scale development.
In Cities in the Wilderness, Bruce Babbitt makes the case for why we need a national vision of land use. We may have a space program, he points out, but here at home we don't have an open-space policy that can balance the needs for human settlement and community with those for preservation of the natural world upon which life depends. Yet such a balance, the author demonstrates, is as remarkably achievable as it is necessary. This is no call for developing a new federal bureaucracy; Babbitt shows instead how much can be--and has been--done by making thoughtful and beneficial use of laws and institutions already in place.
A hallmark of the book is the author's ability to match imaginative vision with practical understanding. Babbitt draws on his extensive experience to take us behind the scenes negotiating the Florida Everglades restoration project, the largest ever authorized by Congress. In California, we discover how the Endangered Species Act, still one of the most effective laws governing land use, has been employed to restore regional habitat. In the Midwest, we see how new World Trade Organization regulations might be used to help restore Iowa's farmlands and rivers. As a key architect of many environmental success stories, Babbitt reveals how broad restoration projects have thrived through federal- state partnership and how their principles can be extended to other parts of the country.
Whether writing of land use as reflected in the Gettysburg battlefield, the movie Chinatown, or in presidential political strategy, Babbitt gives us fresh insight. In this inspiring and informative book, Babbitt sets his lens to panoramic--and offers a vision of land use as grand as the country's natural heritage.
With historic maps and notes from hikers who explored before her, Eisenfeld and her husband hike, backpack, and bushwhack the hills and the hollows of this beloved but misbegotten place, searching for stories. Descendants recount memories of their ancestors “grieving themselves to death,” and they continue to speak of their people’s displacement from the land as an untold national tragedy.
Shenandoah: A Story of Conservation and Betrayal is Eisenfeld’s personal journey into the park’s hidden past based on her off-trail explorations. She describes the turmoil of residents’ removal as well as the human face of the government officials behind the formation of the park. In this conflict between conservation for the benefit of a nation and private land ownership, she explores her own complicated personal relationship with the park—a relationship she would not have without the heartbreak of the thousands of people removed from their homes.
In this groundbreaking epic biography, Douglas Brinkley draws on never-before-published materials to examine the life and achievements of our “naturalist president.” By setting aside more than 230 million acres of wild America for posterity between 1901 and 1909, Theodore Roosevelt made conservation a universal endeavor. This crusade for the American wilderness was perhaps the greatest U.S. presidential initiative between the Civil War and World War I. Roosevelt’s most important legacies led to the creation of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and passage of the Antiquities Act in 1906. His executive orders saved such treasures as Devils Tower, the Grand Canyon, and the Petrified Forest.
A New York Times bestseller, The Green Collar Economy by award-winning human rights activist and environmental leader Van Jones delivers a much-needed economic and environmental solution to today’s two most critical problems. With a revised introduction and new afterword by the author—a man who counsels President Barack Obama on environmental policy—The Green Collar Economy and Jones have been highly praised by a multitude of leaders and legislators, including Al Gore, Senator Tom Daschle, and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi. Van Jones was named one of “The World’s 100 Most Influential People of 2009” by Time magazine, and with The Green Collar Economy he offers a wise, necessary, and eminently achievable plan for saving the earth and rescuing working class Americans.