TRAVELER IN A VANISHED LANDSCAPE: The Life and Times of David Douglas by William Morwood

TRAVELER IN A VANISHED LANDSCAPE: The Life and Times of David Douglas

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Horticulturist David Douglas most prominently lent his name to the Douglas Fir, but in almost every plant category found between Alaska and California the Douglas imprint appears: ""Aster Douglasii, Baccharis Douglasii, Chrysanthemum Douglasii, Draba Douglasii, Eschscholtzia Douglasii -- the names march on through the alphabet."" Morwood, an empathic biographer, charts the Douglas career from 1823 when the young ""sturdy"" Scot began his botanical studies for the Royal Horticultural Society, describing his various expeditions to North America, his finds and encounters with Indian natives, and his bizarre and circumambient death in the Sandwich Islands in 1834 -- did he jump or was he pushed or thrown into that pit occupied by a raging bull? Dour, introverted, patient, sexually shy most of his life, Douglas in the last years became unaccountably garrulous and abusive (perhaps it was the alcohol to which he turned to ease the loneliness?). Professional green-thumbery crossbred with a dank life: not a new species but still rare of its kind.

Pub Date: Jan. 1st, 1972
Publisher: Crown--Clarkson N. Potter