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A mountain peak, a rolling pasture, a boulevard alive with sound and light--each of us carries, deep inside, a dream of paradise. In this magisterial contribution to the literature of ecology and the environment, our nostalgia for the myth of paradise--the primeval, self-sufficient, nurturing garden where mankind was born--is the starting point of a brilliant inquiry into what our ...
A mountain peak, a rolling pasture, a boulevard alive with sound and light--each of us carries, deep inside, a dream of paradise. In this magisterial contribution to the literature of ecology and the environment, our nostalgia for the myth of paradise--the primeval, self-sufficient, nurturing garden where mankind was born--is the starting point of a brilliant inquiry into what our place in Nature has been and ought to be.
Writing in lively, imaginative prose and drawing deftly upon disciplines as varied as biology, geology, anthropology, history, physics, and music, Evan Eisenberg examines the ways in which people have envisioned and tried to re-create the earthly paradise even as they have dealt with the often disastrous effects of their increasing manipulation of the environment. An encyclopedic survey of efforts to heal the dangerous rift between culture and nature, The Ecology of Eden is a landmark work that is enormously suggestive, informative, and a joy to read.
"It's a question many writers have tackled, from Paul Ehrlich to E. O. Wilson: How can we survive while population grows, resources dwindle . . . and the threat of global climate change looms ominously? Few have explored it with more originality or historic sweep. . . . A rich harvest, filled with many kernels of wisdom about the future of our elusive Eden."
--San Francisco Chronicle
"An ambitious, thickly braided narrative that makes the clearest bid to nudge the dialectic along. . . . Eisenberg traces the story engagingly, energetically, with a remarkable breadth of learning and a metaphor-maker's eye. . . . A vision of substance and genuine insight." -Los Angeles Times Book Review
Browsing this book is like canoeing a wild river without a map: You keep on hitting intellectual rapids that get the blood rushing.
— Andrew Nikiforuk
|Prologue: Persons from Porlock|
|1||The Marriage of Grass and Man||3|
|4||The New Pangaea||35|
|5||The Human Mushroom||52|
|6||Life on the Edge||58|
|7||The Mountain of the Gods||69|
|8||The Tower of Babel||80|
|9||The Fiery Sword||86|
|10||The Rivers of Eden||99|
|11||Storming the Mountain||111|
|12||The Highways of Rome||126|
|15||The Walled Garden||170|
|16||Patting Nature on the Head||179|
|17||The Cloister and the Plow||191|
|18||Bringing a Statue to Life||201|
|19||Leaping the Fence||216|
|20||Westward in Eden||240|
|21||A Goddess Quantified||262|
|22||Managers and Fetishers||283|
|24||The Wild Garden||306|
|25||The Tree of Life||320|
|26||The Tree of Knowledge||335|
|27||The Urban Animal||361|
|30||Hot and Cool||412|
|31||The Foothills of Eden||422|