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A substantial contribution to understanding our environmental past.

America’s battle over conservation vs. preservation.

Clayton (Wonderlandscape: Yellowstone National Park and the Evolution of an American Cultural Icon, 2017, etc.) divides his timely book into two parts: the relationship between friends and rivals John Muir (1838-1914) and Gifford Pinchot (1865-1946) and the dense underbrush of events, debates, bills, and laws regarding how America would protect public lands “that demonstrate our society’s relationship with nature.” Muir, co-founder of the Sierra Club, was a prolific author, scientist, and political activist who helped protect Yosemite. He was raised in an evangelical farming family but slowly turned away from it, passionately appreciating God through the works of nature. Pinchot’s family was wealthy. He dreamed of becoming America’s first forester and served as President Theodore Roosevelt’s chief adviser on environmental issues. Muir too was friends with the nature-loving president. Pinchot went on to found the U.S. Forest Service in 1905. Clayton looks at the issue of public lands through the lens of these two, seemingly like-minded men: prophet vs. statesman, a romantic vs. a practical man, and Muir’s moral authority vs. Pinchot’s tactical genius. As the author shows, they were collaborative rivals, each offering “alternative paths to articulating a constructive societal relationship to nature.” He uses the battle over damming Yosemite’s Hetch Hetchy Valley to provide water to San Francisco as a key factor in understanding the Muir-Pinchot rivalry. Muir fought hard against it; Pinchot acquiesced. Muir lost. Ultimately, “their friendship was drowned under a reservoir.” The book is populated with a number of fascinating figures: Frederick Law Olmsted; co-editor of The Century magazine, Robert Underwood Johnson; and Aldo Leopold, who argued for balancing the use of public land with sustainable logging and water supplies. Today, Clayton writes, we need a “visionary management framework,” not “culture wars.”

A substantial contribution to understanding our environmental past.

Pub Date: Aug. 6, 2019

ISBN: 978-1-64313-080-4

Page Count: 336

Publisher: Pegasus

Review Posted Online: May 6, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1, 2019

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Well-told and admonitory.

Young-rags-to-mature-riches memoir by broker and motivational speaker Gardner.

Born and raised in the Milwaukee ghetto, the author pulled himself up from considerable disadvantage. He was fatherless, and his adored mother wasn’t always around; once, as a child, he spied her at a family funeral accompanied by a prison guard. When beautiful, evanescent Moms was there, Chris also had to deal with Freddie “I ain’t your goddamn daddy!” Triplett, one of the meanest stepfathers in recent literature. Chris did “the dozens” with the homies, boosted a bit and in the course of youthful adventure was raped. His heroes were Miles Davis, James Brown and Muhammad Ali. Meanwhile, at the behest of Moms, he developed a fondness for reading. He joined the Navy and became a medic (preparing badass Marines for proctology), and a proficient lab technician. Moving up in San Francisco, married and then divorced, he sold medical supplies. He was recruited as a trainee at Dean Witter just around the time he became a homeless single father. All his belongings in a shopping cart, Gardner sometimes slept with his young son at the office (apparently undiscovered by the night cleaning crew). The two also frequently bedded down in a public restroom. After Gardner’s talents were finally appreciated by the firm of Bear Stearns, his American Dream became real. He got the cool duds, hot car and fine ladies so coveted from afar back in the day. He even had a meeting with Nelson Mandela. Through it all, he remained a prideful parent. His own no-daddy blues are gone now.

Well-told and admonitory.

Pub Date: June 1, 2006

ISBN: 0-06-074486-3

Page Count: 320

Publisher: Amistad/HarperCollins

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 15, 2006

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