A Landscape for Reform: The 'German Forest' asa Contested National Symbol, 1871-1914

A Landscape for Reform: The 'German Forest' asa Contested National Symbol, 1871-1914

by Jeffrey K. Wilson
     
 

From the late eighteenth century, Germans increasingly identified the fate of their nation with that of their woodlands. A variety of groups soon mobilized the 'German forest' as a national symbol, though often in ways that suited their own social, economic, and political interests. The German Forest is the first book-length history of the development and

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Overview

From the late eighteenth century, Germans increasingly identified the fate of their nation with that of their woodlands. A variety of groups soon mobilized the 'German forest' as a national symbol, though often in ways that suited their own social, economic, and political interests. The German Forest is the first book-length history of the development and contestation of the concept of 'German' woodlands.

Jeffrey K. Wilson challenges the dominant interpretation that German connections to nature were based in agrarian romanticism rather than efforts at modernization. He explores a variety of conflicts over the symbol — from demands on landowners for public access to woodlands, to state attempts to integrate ethnic Slavs into German culture through forestry, and radical nationalist visions of woodlands as a model for the German 'race'. Through impressive primary and archival research, Wilson demonstrates that in addition to uniting Germans, the forest as a national symbol could also serve as a vehicle for protest and strife.

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Editorial Reviews

American Historical Review, vol 118:03:2013 - Brian Vick
‘This well contextualized study provides an interesting example of environmental history, offering insights into the land and human relationships with it as well as revealing hoe much environment-related issues can tell us about humans as political animals.’
From the Publisher

‘This well contextualized study provides an interesting example of environmental history, offering insights into the land and human relationships with it as well as revealing hoe much environment-related issues can tell us about humans as political animals.’

German History vol 32:02:2014 - Richard Hölzl
‘The book fills a real gap, not only in its chronological and spatial focus but also in drawing connections between the politics of the forest and the Heimat movement. Wilson offers a significant and persuasively narrated contribution to the history of Imperial Germany, of the forest, and of nationalism.’
Environment and History vol 21:04:2015 - Charles Closmann
‘Wilson’s book would be important reading for any student of environmental history or the history of Western Europe in the modern age.’

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781442640993
Publisher:
University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Publication date:
06/29/2012
Series:
German and European Studies Series
Pages:
344
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Meet the Author

Jeffrey K. Wilson is an assistant professor in the Department of History at California State University, Sacramento.

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