Not the outcry that the title suggests but a basic introduction to environmental depredation and a broad survey of the forms it takes, a book that both loses and gains because it is written as if there were not scores of others. In the successive examinations of waters and wetlands, woodlands, wildlife and blights-on-life (highways to insecticides), a point of view does emerge and it is worth pondering: a dam is urged for the scenic Snake River because, to the power company, ""water that is not working is idle""; called upon to control the flooding of Florida's Lake Okeechobee, the Army engineers add drainage and land reclamation ""on the well-known principle that wetlands are wastelands."" (Embracing also the aborted jetport, the discussion of the Everglades is particularly extensive and sophisticated.) Obversely, a pure stand of trees is not a forest -- the environmental as well as the economic claims of lumbering interests get the axe here too. Tops as disclosure, however, is the history of the public land -- one third of the nation -- and its disposition. Its protection for multiple use (vs. its preemption for mining, grazing, etc.) involves fundamental decisions and leads to Mr. Mines' conclusion -- that the time for education and exhortation is past, that court action must uphold ""the right to a decent environment."" A clear, information-packed synthesis, resolute but not argumentative.