American Environmental History / Edition 1

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"This compilation of seminal essays introduces students to the most exciting scholarship and writing on the environmental history in the United States. With primary documents that illustrate the conditions, perception, and influences of environmental issues from the pre-Columbian era to the present, the book invites students to analyze not only the connections between people and nature, but popular ideas of the environment in American history. Subjects include the changing American landscape, virgin soil epidemics and biological invasions, the impact of colonialism and industrial development, conservation, and the environmental movement and the backlash against it." An editorial introduction and headnotes for each chapter add scholarly value to the readings and documents. Students and instructors of American environmental history will find this an ideal collection for their courses and research.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"All those interested in North America’s environmental history will treasure this volume for its trenchant commentary, its judicious selection of recent scholarship, and its illuminating documents and images." Karl Jacoby, Brown University

"A skillfully edited, lively collection that examines the interplay of culture, politics, and nature in the American past. An excellent choice for environmental history courses." Mark Fiege, Colorado State University

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Product Details

Meet the Author

Louis S. Warren is Associate Professor of History and W. Turrentine Jackson Professor of Western US History at the University of California, Davis. He is the author of The Hunter’s Game: Poachers and Conservationists in Twentieth-Century America (1999).

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Table of Contents

Series Editor’s Preface.


Introduction: What Is Environmental History?.

1. The Natures of Indian America before Columbus.

Article: The Pristine Myth: The Landscape of The Americas in 1492 (William M. Denevan).


‘The Watchful World’ (Richard Nelson).

Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden (1917) (Gilbert Neslon).

Images of Florida Indians Planting and Making an Offering of a Stag to the Sun. .

2. The Other Invaders: Deadly Diseases And Extraordinary Animals.

Article: On Virgin Soil Epidemics (Alfred Crosby).


‘Saynday And Smallpox: The White Man's Gift‘ (1968) (Frank Givens).

Three Years among The Indians And Mexicans (1822) (Thomas James).

‘Horse Breeding‘ (1955) (John C. Ewers).

'Wild Horses At Play' (George Catlin).

3. Colonial Natures: Marketing The Countryside.

Article: A World of Fields and Fences (William Cronon).


‘Reasons and Considerations Touching the Lawfulness of Removing Out of England into the Parts of America‘ (1622) (Robert Cushman).

‘Livestock and War in Colonial New England‘ (Lion Gardener).

Explain Indian Frustration with Settler Livestock In Colonial California (1782) (Spanish Priests Joseph Murguia and Thomas De La Pena).

4. Forest and Plantation in Nineteenth-Century America.

Section I: Clearing The Forest.

Article: ‘Wasty Ways’: Stories of American Settlement (Alan Taylor).


Wasty Ways of Pioneers (1823) (James Fenimore Cooper).

What I Saw In California (1846) (Edwin Bryant).

Section II: Nature and Slavery.

Article: Rice, Water, and Power: Landscapes of Domination and Resistance in the Lowcountry, 1790–1880 (Mart A. Stewart).


Map of Doboy and Altamaha Sounds (1856).

‘The Rice District’ (1856) (Frederick Law Olmsted).

5. Urban Nature And Urban Reforms.

Article: The Cholera Years: The United States in 1832, 1849, and 1866 (Charles E. Rosenberg).


San Francisco Fire (1850s).

Crowd with empty aqueduct (1913).

Dynamited Portion of LA Aqueduct (1927).

6. Markets, and the Disappearing Bison.

Article: Bison Ecology And Bison Diplomacy Redux: Another Look at the Southern Plains from 1800 to 1850 (Dan Flores).


‘Memories of buffalo hunting’ (Billy Dixon).

’Curing Hides and Bones' (1974).

Thanksgiving Menu (1883) (Drake Hotel).

7. The Many Uses Of Conservation.

Article: Conservation, Subsistence, and Class at the Birth of Superior National Forest (Benjamin Heber Johnson).


‘The Meaning of Conservation’ (1909) (Gifford Pinchot).

Special Supervisor of the Yellowstone and Teton Timber Reserves, Talks Interestingly of the Summer's Work' (1902) (A. A. Anderson).

Describes Game and Hunting Conditions in the South (Charles Askew).

Testifies about Being Apprehended for Game Law Violations (Ben Senowin).

8. National Parks And The Trouble With Wilderness.

Article: The Trouble with Wilderness or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature (William Cronon).


On Saving Hetch Hetchy (1909) (John Muir).

Little Chief Requests Permission to Hunt in Glacier Park, 1932 (Peter Oscar).

National Parks Act, 1916 Wilderness Act, 1964. .

9. Something In The Wind: Radiation, Pesticides, And Air Pollution.

Article: Reconstructing Environmentalism: Complex Movements, Diverse Roots (Robert Gottlieb).


'Fallout: The Silent Killer' (1959).

‘Elixirs Of Death' (1962) (Rachel Carson).

The Clean Air Act (1955, 2001).

10. Environmental Protection And The Environmental Movement.

Article: Richard Nixon and the Triumph of Environmentalism (J. Brooks Flippen).


National Environmental Policy Act (1969).

The Endangered Species Act (1973).

The Population Bomb (1970) (Paul Ehrlich).

11. Environmental Racism And Environmental Justice.

Article: Troubled Waters in Ecotopia: Environmental Racism in Portland, Oregon (Ellen Stroud).


Toxic Waste and Environmental Justice (1993) (Lois Gibbs).

From United Church of Christ Toxic Wastes and 'Race In The United States (1987).

The Letter That Shook a Movement'. .

12. Backlash against the Environmental Movement. .


‘The Politics of Plunder' (1988) (Carl Pope).

S. ‘The Costs of Environmental Overregulation' (1993) (Fred Singer).

'Jobs vs. Environment Myth' (2000) (Mark Douglas Whitaker).

13. Legacies.


‘The Population Explosion is Over' (1996) (Ben J. Wattenberg).

From UN World Population Prospects 1996 and 2000.

Graph of Economic Growth Areas and Air Emission Trends, 1970–2000.

Graph Of Atmospheric CO2 Concentration 1958–1997.

The Triumph Of Diplomacy? Atmospheric CFC Graph: 1977–1996.


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