WANDERINGS OF AN ENVIRONMENTAL JOURNALIST by Philip L. Fradkin

WANDERINGS OF AN ENVIRONMENTAL JOURNALIST

In Alaska and the American West
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KIRKUS REVIEW

 Fifteen essays by Fradkin (Fallout, 1989, etc.), originally published in the Los Angeles Times and Audubon magazine during the 1970's. The pieces offer a sobering, articulate view of specific environmental concerns in the West, most of which--as shown by an updating epilogue--have not improved in the interim. At times, the prescience of Fradkin's observations is stunning, as in a 1977 Audubon exposÇ about the hazardous shipping lanes outside Valdez, Alaska, that suggested that it was only a matter of time before a supertanker accident occurred. Other articles on Alaska reconstruct a desperate battle on the Aleutian island of Attu, where thousands of Japanese and American troops died in 1942; describe a giant (1,750-foot) wave that scoured the granite cliffs of Lituya Bay after a massive earthquake in 1958; and detail the folly and mismanagement behind the WW II construction of the first oil pipeline out of the Arctic. Perennial hazards of fire and drought in California are among the themes addressed in a section on the American West; also covered are the acute problems throughout that region that result from overgrazing. Of particular interest is a chronicle of a one-week visit in 1977 to the energy boomtown of Craig, Colorado, at the height of its growth, to witness the social and environmental implications of a community in painful transition. Not always as timely as when first published, perhaps, but these well-researched stories are still potent and varied enough to be both appealing and broadly informative. (Maps)

Pub Date: April 1st, 1993
ISBN: 0-8263-1416-3
Page count: 288pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 1993




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