BN.com Gift Guide

The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed

( 17 )

Overview

A tale of obsession so fierce that a man kills the thing he loves most: the only giant golden spruce on earth.
When a shattered kayak and camping gear are found on an uninhabited island in the Pacific Northwest, they reignite a mystery surrounding a shocking act of protest. Five months earlier, logger-turned-activist Grant Hadwin had plunged naked into a river in British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Islands, towing a chainsaw. When his night's work was done, a unique Sitka spruce,...

See more details below
Paperback
$13.47
BN.com price
(Save 20%)$16.95 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (62) from $1.99   
  • New (7) from $10.04   
  • Used (55) from $1.99   
The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 7.0
  • Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 NOOK 10.1
  • NOOK HD Tablet
  • NOOK HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK eReaders
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.49
BN.com price
(Save 38%)$16.95 List Price

Overview

A tale of obsession so fierce that a man kills the thing he loves most: the only giant golden spruce on earth.
When a shattered kayak and camping gear are found on an uninhabited island in the Pacific Northwest, they reignite a mystery surrounding a shocking act of protest. Five months earlier, logger-turned-activist Grant Hadwin had plunged naked into a river in British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Islands, towing a chainsaw. When his night's work was done, a unique Sitka spruce, 165 feet tall and covered with luminous golden needles, teetered on its stump. Two days later it fell.
As vividly as John Krakauer puts readers on Everest, John Vaillant takes us into the heart of North America's last great forest.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
"There was only one giant golden spruce in the world, and, until a man named Grant Hadwin took a chainsaw to it, in 1997, it had stood for more than three hundred years in a steadily shrinking patch of old-growth forest in Port Clements, on the banks of the Yakoun River, in the Queen Charlotte's Islands." Thus began a 2002 New Yorker article by John Vaillaint. From the acorn of that story grew this truly arresting book, which charts the intersection of a scientific mystery and a human enigma. The golden spruce was unique, the outgrowth of a one-in-a-billion seedling that lacked like-giving chlorophyll yet somehow survived. Unlike the tree, which was worshipped as a deity by local Indians, the man was a lone wolf, an angry survivalist stuck in the wrong century. Their dramatic, doubly doomed conjunction imbues Golden Spruce with a tragic significance.
Entertainment Weekly
“Worthy of comparison to Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild. . . . A story of the heartbreakingly complex relationship between man and nature.”
William Grimes - New York Times
“Absolutely spellbinding.”
New York Times
Absolutely spellbinding.— William Grimes
Sebastian Junger
“John Vaillant has written a work that will change how many people think about nature.”
Frank Clifford - Los Angeles Times
“A haunting tale of a good man driven mad by environmental devastation.... [Grant Hadwin's] appalling tree surgery is as vividly wrought as one of Patrick O'Brian's shipboard amputations.”
Donna Seaman - Booklist
“This tragic tale goes right to the heart of the conflicts among loggers, native rights activists, and environmentalists, and induces us to more deeply consider the consequences of our habits of destruction.”
Bruce Barcott - Outside
“Vaillant interlaces a well-reported murder mystery with elegantly spun cultural and native history, conjuring the spooky mood of the Northwest forests with the clarity of David Guterson or Jonathan Raban.”
John Marshall - Seattle Post-Intelligencer
“Make some more space on the shelf of Essential Northwest Books. John Vaillant has crafted a debut book that is a stunning look at this region's history and environment.”
William Grimes
The Golden Spruce has architectural weaknesses, but Mr. Vaillant is absolutely spellbinding when conjuring up the world of the golden spruce. His descriptions of the Queen Charlotte Islands, with their misty, murky light and hushed, cathedral-like forests, are haunting, and he does full justice to the noble, towering trees - the Ent-like sequoias, Sitkas, red cedars and Douglas firs - that once stretched, in an unbroken line, from Kodiak Island down to Mendocino. The treacherous waters of the Hecate Strait, which divides the Charlottes from the mainland, inspire some memorable, rip-snorting passages. The chapters on logging, painstakingly researched, make high drama out of the grueling, highly dangerous job of bringing down some of the biggest trees on earth.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
The felling of a celebrated giant golden spruce tree in British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Islands takes on a potent symbolism in this probing study of an unprecedented act of eco-vandalism. First-time author Vaillant, who originally wrote about the death of the spruce for the New Yorker, profiles the culprit, an ex-logger turned messianic environmentalist who toppled the famous tree-the only one of its kind-to protest the destruction of British Columbia's old-growth forest, then soon vanished mysteriously. Vaillant also explores the culture and history of the Haida Indians who revered the tree, and of the logging industry that often expresses an elegiac awe for the ancient trees it is busily clear-cutting. Writing in a vigorous, evocative style, Vaillant portrays the Pacific Northwest as a region of conflict and violence, from the battles between Europeans and Indians over the 18th-century sea otter trade to the hard-bitten, macho milieu of the logging camps, where grisly death is an occupational hazard. It is also, in his telling, a land of virtually infinite natural resources overmatched by an even greater human rapaciousness. Through this archetypal story of "people fail[ing] to see the forest for the tree," Vaillant paints a haunting portrait of man's vexed relationship with nature. Photos. Agent, Stuart Krichevsky. 8-city author tour. (May) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT - Nola Theiss
The golden spruce of the title was a giant tree that grew on one of the Queen Charlotte Islands in British Columbia, Canada. In 1997, a logger named Grant Hadwin, who became a rabid environmentalist, cut down the tree that served as a unique and sacred symbol of the culture and history of the Haida Indians as well as a living representation of what we have lost through the greed and destructiveness of the logging industry. Hadwin's act was meant to show the world what it was losing by destroying the very thing he wanted to protect. Soon after he mysteriously disappeared while on a kayaking trip. Vaillant describes the life of Hadwin to try to understand his actions, but he also uses this strange act and disappearance as the centerpiece of his story of the Northwest: its history of violence, culture clashes and quest for wealth. He also tells of the troubling relationship man has with nature and the impact of man's ability to destroy that which seems larger and more powerful than himself. The book is filled with the history and culture of the area and its people and is filled with thoughtful insights.
Library Journal
Vaillant covers a real mystery: why logger-turned-activist Grant Hadwin chainsawed a gorgeous Sitka spruce that stood 165 feet tall-and then disappeared. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Nature essay meets true-crime tale. Canadian journalist Vaillant's debut begins with a mystery: A beachcombing biologist turns up a broken kayak on the shore of an uninhabited Alaskan island and, lucky day, begins to disassemble it for its parts, only to discover scattered camping gear and other equipment that pointed to either foul play or terrible accident. That suspenseful setup is left hanging as Vaillant switches into ecologist mode, explaining the dynamics of the Northwest's rainforests, where "there is no graceful interval between the ocean and the trees; the forest simply takes over where the tide wrack ends, erupting full-blown from the shallow, bouldered earth." On the rainy Queen Charlotte Islands of British Columbia, a region of astoundingly tall trees, one stood taller than all others; born around 1700, this "golden spruce" had found a place at the heart of the native universe and had been set aside by generations of loggers who had worked the country. Having provided a history of logging and an appreciation of Haida lifeways, the author moves toward its strange center: the tale of an "upper-middle-class prep school refugee" who had found something approaching refuge in the remote woods and become a master logger, widely praised for the quality of his work. "He was opinionated and eccentric, but he was also a strenuous provider," Vaillant writes, a sober and industrious fellow who snapped; he now became an anti-logging activist, and somewhere along the way, for reasons of his own, he hit on an idea to commit an act of eco-sabotage that would call attention to the plight of the old-growth forest. Vaillant's start-and-stop narrative yields whiplash here and there, but he ablycovers all the bases: the logger's actions may have been local, but they had wide-ranging implications, and Vaillant pauses to consider them all. One of them is surprising: the tree, once little known, "has become the most widely dispersed Sitka spruce on earth." Vaillant's tale of how it got to be so is of unfailing interest. Author tour
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393328646
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 5/17/2006
  • Pages: 288
  • Sales rank: 148,858
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.20 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

John Vaillant has written for The New Yorker, the Atlantic, Outside, National Geographic Adventure, and Men’s Journal, among others. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Golden Spruce is his first book.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 17 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(11)

4 Star

(3)

3 Star

(2)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(1)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2012

    Captivating Story

    Never would I have thought that I could be captivated with a book dedicated to a tree but the author takes you through from ancient history to the present day. It is a story of Native American stories, beliefs, and history and on into the logging industry and conservation. All along however there is a criminal story going on in the background and ocasionally in the fore front. This book could be a novel if the story weren't so true. This book held me captive for four solid days of reading. Vaillant has done a tremendous amount of research. His writing skills compare to those of some of the best history writeds of the day.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 26, 2007

    A reviewer

    This book is excellent, it surveys not only the particular event of the tree being cut, but also a complete history of logging and man's connections to the woods around him. I loved this book and would recommend it to history buffs and conservationists alike

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2007

    Moving and thought provoking.

    Like Krakauer John Valliant captures the restless nature of men for whom the earth has become too small. Will there still be men like Grant Hadwin on this earth in hundred years? I doubt it. Grant was as unique and strange as the tree he killed. Both stood out among their peers, both had to adapt to survive in their environments. But while the golden spruce became healthy and was loved, Hadwin descended into madness and alienated people. Did he see a kindred spirit in the tree? He saw it as sickly yet celebrated. Was he jealous? More important than psychosis of Hadwin and his horrible deed is the history of conquest, logging and greed in a remote area of British Columbia. Valliant's detailed writing paints a tragic portrait of the clear cutting of one of the last great forests on earth. The dry data on board feet shipped, acreage felled and square miles decimated are mind numbing. To read this book is to understand that humankind is totally insane. Just like the evil Hadwin we are hell bent on destroying everything we love.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 16, 2006

    Environmentalists must read this book!

    This book contains a history of logging, an environmentalist in the making, a story of greed and a tree that binds all of these elements. I like the way Vaillant weaves the story of a people and a tree through a fascinating history of the Northwest. This well documented work contains all the elements of a great mystery.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2005

    A Northwest Must read

    If you live in the Pacific Northwest or you just love Ecotopia, this is a must read. Its descriptions will bring you to the Queen Charlotte Islands. You will feel the chill of the cold Pacific and the mystery of the mist that enshrouds and nourishes the most beautiful part of North America.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 6, 2012

    The Golden Spruce is a must read

    Do you love trees ..... absolutely fascinating slow boil of history, trees and a crazy man ... or was he?

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 22, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Anyone interested in the environment will thoroughly enjoy this well-researched and written book.

    This book is a wealth of information on a time of growth in the US and puts a piercing spotlight on our methods of logging to satisfy our voracious need for lumber. It really made me realize how little logging was regulated and how much damage has been done by clearcutting and machinery. The Golden Spruce was a lovely, one-of-a-kind spruce in Northern British Columbia which was revered by the Haida people. It was destroyed by one man whose style reminded me of Ted Kazinski's response to what he perceived as society needing a wake-up call. I am so glad I read it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2005

    facinating and enjoyable

    This is part science, part cultural history and entirely interesting. Who would have guessed logging and sociology and nature could be intertwined in a story so well? And a true one at that. I believe anyone with even a remote interest in the Pacific Northwest or forests, or Native Americans will find this book unforgettable. I hope the author writes more.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2014

    A Gem for Nature Lovers

    Vaillant has become one of my favorite authors

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted July 17, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 5, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 4, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted March 30, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 17 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)