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By Robert L. Dorman

The careers and concepts of 4 figures of huge significance within the background of yankee conservation—George Perkins Marsh, Henry David Thoreau, John Muir, and John Wesley Powell—are explored in A notice for Nature. Robert Dorman deals vigorous images of every of those early environmental advocates, who witnessed firsthand the effect of financial enlargement and business revolution on fragile landscapes from the forests of latest England to the mountains of the West. through interpreting the nineteenth-century international within which the 4 males lived—its society, economic climate, politics, and culture—Dorman sheds gentle at the roots of yankee environmentalism. He offers an outline of the early many years of either source conservation and desolate tract protection, discussing how Marsh, Thoreau, Muir, and Powell helped outline the problems that begun altering the nation's attitudes towards its atmosphere by means of the early 20th century. Dorman's readings of works together with Marsh's guy and Nature, Thoreau's The Maine Woods, Muir's The Mountains of California, and Powell's file at the Lands of the Arid zone exhibit their authors' impression on environmental proposal and politics even as much as the current day.

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Extra info for A word for nature: four pioneering environmental advocates, 1845-1913

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Discussions with my wife, Sarah, improved the book's argument, as did her skills as an editor. This book is dedicated to her.  .  . is to be regarded as essentially a destructive power. Man and Nature George Perkins Marsh (Courtesy of the Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress) Page 5 It was in 1797 that Charles Marsh first constructed the bridge which would be washed away time and again by floods during the boyhood of his son, George. Three years later, in the summer before George's birth, a forest fire ravaged the slopes of the mountain where sat the Marsh family home, destroying most of whatever trees remained after generations of cuttings had already been burned in the stoves of the farmers and villagers below.

The postwar emphasis on environmental protection may be seen as the latest stage in an ever-expanding awareness of the damage that humans may do to the natural world and to themselves in their interdependence with nature. I sometimes define the word "environmentalism" in a broader sense because the tradition has itself broadened. This advent of environmental concern in the national awareness is typically presented as a shift in fundamental ethical assumptions, and here again the conventional terminology of environmental historiography and journalism is helpful and will be invoked in this book.

To exacerbate matters, Marsh loathed his work as a lawyer. 11 If Marsh's private dealings of these years were thus something of a shambles, his more successful public life as a congressman, diplomat, and scholar afforded him some solace and, ultimately, both figurative and literal escape. His New England background and ill-starred business career are important to explaining his political orientation, and his politicsWhig Party politicsare essential to understanding the origins of the conservationist arguments that he was to put forward in Man and Nature.

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