This Land, This South: An Environmental History / Edition 1

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Overview

Here is the story of the long interaction between humans, land, and climate in the American South. It is a tale of exploitation and erosion, of destruction, disease, and defeat, but also of the persistent search for knowledge and wisdom. It is a story whose villains were also its victims and sometimes its heroes. Ancient forces created the southern landscape, but, as Albert E. Cowdrey shows, humankind from the time of earliest habitation has been at work reshaping it. The southern Indians, far from being the "natural ecologists" of myth, radically transformed their environment by hunting and burning. Such patterns were greatly accelerated by the arrival of Europeans, who viewed the land as a commodity to be exploited for immediate economic benefit. Their greed and ignorance took a heavy toll on the land and all those it supported. Climate, interacting with history, also played its part. The diseases brought to the New World from Europe and later from Africa found in the South a warm and hospitable abode, with devastating consequences for its human inhabitants. Until well into the twentieth century, endemic illnesses continually eroded human resources. Cowdrey documents not only the long decline but the painfully slow struggle to repair the damage of human folly. The eighteenth century saw widespread though ineffectual efforts to protect game and conserve the soil. In the nineteenth century the first hesitant steps were taken toward scientific flood control, forestry, wildlife protection, and improved medicine. In this century, the New Deal, the explosion in scientific knowledge, and the national environmental movement have spurred more rapid improvements. But the efforts to harness the South's great rivers, to save its wild species, and to avert serious environmental pollution have often had equivocal results. This Land, This South, first published in 1983, was the first book to explore the impact of humans on the southern landscape and its effect on them. In graceful and at times lyrical prose, Albert Cowdrey brings together a vast array of information. This important book, now revised and updated, should be read by every person concerned with the past, present, and future of the South.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"If one's spirit is bound to the land in some southern past, this book will stir deep feeling." — Georgia Historical Quarterly

"In this history, revised from a 1983 version, Albert Cowdrey fills a gap in the environmental history of the Americas." — Mississippi Quarterly

"Cowdrey's excellent history of southern society and the southern environment affirms the importance of understanding the ways in which humans interact with their environment. This books is a must-read for students of southern history." — Southern Historian

"A clear and pungent environmental history that has long been needed.... Should become the standard environmental history of the region." — American Historical Review

John Opie
...[A tale] of hellbent, well-meaning, and confused hubris....important because Americans have largely ignored the environmetnal implications....Cowdrey insists that despite today's homogenization the South is a region which has always differed....[The book reminds] us that Americans are just beginning to comprehend the power of their geography...
Mississippi Quarterly
Booknews
Recounts the story of the long interaction between humans, land, and climate in the American South. Topics range from Native American and colonial survival to the row-crop empire to today's conservation and development efforts. This new edition (first, 1983) contains an expanded bibliographical note and some updated text. Paper edition (unseen), $14.95. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
John Opie
...[A tale] of hellbent, well-meaning, and confused hubris....important because Americans have largely ignored the environmetnal implications....Cowdrey insists that despite today's homogenization the South is a region which has always differed....[The book reminds] us that Americans are just beginning to comprehend the power of their geography... -- Mississippi Quarterly
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813108513
  • Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
  • Publication date: 6/13/2011
  • Series: New Perspectives on the South Series
  • Edition description: REV
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 0.58 (w) x 6.00 (h) x 9.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Albert E. Cowdrey is a senior fellow at the Eisenhower Center of the University of New Orleans.

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Table of Contents

Editor's Preface
Acknowledgments
Note to the Revised Edition
Introduction 1
1 Isolation and Upheaval 11
2 The Problem of Survival 25
3 The Uses of the Wild 45
4 The Row-Crop Empire 65
5 Exploitation Limited 83
6 Exploitation Unlimited 103
7 Conserve and Develop 127
8 The Transformation Begins 149
9 South into Sunbelt 169
10 Myth and Dream: An Epilogue 197
Notes 201
Bibliographical Note 225
Index 233
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