WHAT SHALL WE DO WITH THE LAND? by Laurence Pringle

WHAT SHALL WE DO WITH THE LAND?

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This latest of Pringle's straight-talking, clear-thinking overviews informs young readers on the hard land-use choices facing Americans and how they are being met. Digging as always behind official rhetoric and weakened laws, he points to examples of private interests' influence on local, state, and federal decisions--and to other examples of government units taking steps in the right direction, that of preserving and managing land for the greatest long-term public benefit. Thus, public taxing and zoning policy can help save farmland and coastland from developers (though in general ""local zoning is a heavily politicized process,"" subject to pressure and sometimes bribes). The National Forest Service, we see, does a better job of saving federal forests from commercial exploitation than does the Bureau of Land Management. The Administration-supported Sagebrush Rebellion, Pringle makes clear, consists mostly of ""an attempted takeover of federal lands"" by ""wealthy ranchers, mining companies, developers, energy companies, and other powerful private interests--and politicians friendly to their cause."" Opinion polls show that most people in the West (and elsewhere) want federal control, though ""an opposite impression can be gained from hearings"" packed by these private interests. Whatever the issue, Pringle can be counted on to draw the lines, identify the parties, make the connections among interest, action, and effect--and demonstrate an approach that young readers can profitably apply to other issues.

Pub Date: Oct. 9th, 1981
Publisher: T. Y. Crowell