Archer (A House Divided, 1994, etc.) offers brief biographies of four people he considers ""central to the American...


TO SAVE THE EARTH: The American Environmental Movement

Archer (A House Divided, 1994, etc.) offers brief biographies of four people he considers ""central to the American Environmental Movement"" along with succinct coverage of the history of that movement. The lives of John Muir, founder of the National Park System; Rachel Carson, scientist and author of Silent Spring and other titles; Canadian David McTaggert, organizer of Greenpeace; and Dave Foreman, former head of Earth First! are covered in approximately 60 pages each. While the sections on Muir and Carson (a shy, methodical scientist who might be surprised to find herself in the company of such extroverted eccentrics) are pedestrian compared to other available accounts, firsthand interviews with McTaggert and Foreman yielded lively and exciting coverage. That coverage, however, is one-sided as McTaggert recounts his battles to save the animals and the environment from hunters, poachers, and nuclear explosions, and Foreman is linked to spiking trees and sabotaging logging equipment while hotly denying accusations of conspiracy to cut the power lines to the Central Arizona Power plant. Archer relies on such reports, leaving readers to search elsewhere for more balanced information. The title is already dated with references to Love Canal as largely a ghost town, and the last threat of nuclear explosion ending with France in 1995. For those doing research, the volume has a good bibliography but is limited by vague sourcing: ""Also consulted were PBS TV documentaries, and articles in and news from: ACLU; Alternatives; American Forests; American Historical Review . . .""--a list that includes House Beautiful, Utne Reader, and 75 others.

Pub Date: Aug. 1, 1998


Page Count: 269

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1998

Close Quickview