WEALTH OF NATURE

ENVIRONMENTAL HISTORY AND THE ECOLOGIAL IMAGINATION

Sixteen thoughtful essays that examine the present and future implications of America's past relationship to the land—and that draw, as Worster (American History/University of Kansas; Rivers of Empire, 1986, etc.) puts it, a ``picture of the human past that is radically unlike anything you will find in the standard undergraduate history textbooks.'' In these pieces (some of which appeared originally in academic journals and books), Worster speaks with awe of the ``search to discover a less reductive, less ecologically and spiritually nihilistic, less grasping kind of materialism.'' In this spirit, reminiscent of Thoreau and Joseph Wood Krutch (one of the author's early inspirations), Worster sounds deeply skeptical over the prospect that a market economy can ever be compatible with responsible stewardship of this country's natural resources: His own preference is for an environmentalism ``that talks about ethics and aesthetics rather than about resources and economics.'' Not surprisingly, given these views, Worster throws a wet rag over the concept of ``sustained development''; hails an American conservation revolution that views the land as an interdependent ecosystem; and calls for an end to all federal subsidies of western irrigation projects. As an alternative to federal and state management of resources, he speaks eloquently about individual responsibility for the environment. And when he's not warning about our current encroachments on nature, Worster can be especially illuminating about how the environment has affected our past- -pointing, for example, to the Midwest's overemphasis on wheat- growing as a cause of the Dust Bowl crisis of the 1930's; discussing the 1935 Soil Erosion Act, the first comprehensive legislation to preserve the lifeblood of American agriculture; and carefully tracing the evangelical fervor of America's greatest environmentalists to the dissident and missionary spirit of Protestantism. Probably too pessimistic on reconciling conservation with a market economy, but informed and lucid about how we've lost ground in the fight to save our natural resources.

Pub Date: May 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-19-507624-9

Page Count: 304

Publisher: Oxford Univ.

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 1993

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Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis...

THE ELEMENTS OF STYLE

50TH ANNIVERSARY EDITION

Privately published by Strunk of Cornell in 1918 and revised by his student E. B. White in 1959, that "little book" is back again with more White updatings.

Stricter than, say, Bergen Evans or W3 ("disinterested" means impartial — period), Strunk is in the last analysis (whoops — "A bankrupt expression") a unique guide (which means "without like or equal").

Pub Date: May 15, 1972

ISBN: 0205632645

Page Count: 105

Publisher: Macmillan

Review Posted Online: Oct. 28, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 1972

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DEAR MR. HENSHAW

Possibly inspired by the letters Cleary has received as a children's author, this begins with second-grader Leigh Botts' misspelled fan letter to Mr. Henshaw, whose fictitious book itself derives from the old take-off title Forty Ways W. Amuse a Dog. Soon Leigh is in sixth grade and bombarding his still-favorite author with a list of questions to be answered and returned by "next Friday," the day his author report is due. Leigh is disgruntled when Mr. Henshaw's answer comes late, and accompanied by a set of questions for Leigh to answer. He threatens not to, but as "Mom keeps nagging me about your dumb old questions" he finally gets the job done—and through his answers Mr. Henshaw and readers learn that Leigh considers himself "the mediumest boy in school," that his parents have split up, and that he dreams of his truck-driver dad driving him to school "hauling a forty-foot reefer, which would make his outfit add up to eighteen wheels altogether. . . . I guess I wouldn't seem so medium then." Soon Mr. Henshaw recommends keeping a diary (at least partly to get Leigh off his own back) and so the real letters to Mr. Henshaw taper off, with "pretend," unmailed letters (the diary) taking over. . . until Leigh can write "I don't have to pretend to write to Mr. Henshaw anymore. I have learned to say what I think on a piece of paper." Meanwhile Mr. Henshaw offers writing tips, and Leigh, struggling with a story for a school contest, concludes "I think you're right. Maybe I am not ready to write a story." Instead he writes a "true story" about a truck haul with his father in Leigh's real past, and this wins praise from "a real live author" Leigh meets through the school program. Mr. Henshaw has also advised that "a character in a story should solve a problem or change in some way," a standard juvenile-fiction dictum which Cleary herself applies modestly by having Leigh solve his disappearing lunch problem with a burglar-alarmed lunch box—and, more seriously, come to recognize and accept that his father can't be counted on. All of this, in Leigh's simple words, is capably and unobtrusively structured as well as valid and realistic. From the writing tips to the divorced-kid blues, however, it tends to substitute prevailing wisdom for the little jolts of recognition that made the Ramona books so rewarding.

Pub Date: Aug. 22, 1983

ISBN: 143511096X

Page Count: 133

Publisher: Morrow/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: Oct. 16, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 1, 1983

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