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No Man's Garden: Thoreau and a New Vision for Civilization and Nature
     

No Man's Garden: Thoreau and a New Vision for Civilization and Nature

by Daniel B. Botkin
 
<p>In No Man's Garden, ecologist Daniel Botkin takes a fresh look at the life and writings of Henry David Thoreau to discover a model for reconciling the conflict between nature and civilization that lies at the heart of our environmental problems. He offers an insightful reinterpretation of Thoreau, drawing a surprising picture of the &quot;hermit of

Overview

<p>In No Man's Garden, ecologist Daniel Botkin takes a fresh look at the life and writings of Henry David Thoreau to discover a model for reconciling the conflict between nature and civilization that lies at the heart of our environmental problems. He offers an insightful reinterpretation of Thoreau, drawing a surprising picture of the &quot;hermit of Walden&quot; as a man who loved wildness, but who found it in the woods and swamps on the outskirts of town as easily as in the remote forests of Maine, and who firmly believed in the value and importance of human beings and civilization.<p>Botkin integrates into the familiar image of Thoreau, the solitary seeker, other, equally important aspects of his personality and career-as a first-rate ecologist whose close, long-term observation of his surroundings shows the value of using a scientific approach, as an engineer who was comfortable working out technical problems in his father's pencil factory, and as someone who was deeply concerned about the spiritual importance of nature to people.<p>This new view of one of the founding fathers of American environmental thought lays the groundwork for an innovative approach to solving environmental problems. Botkin argues that the topics typically thought of as &quot;environmental,&quot; and the issues and concerns of &quot;environmentalism,&quot; are in fact rooted in some of humanity's deepest concerns-our fundamental physical and spiritual connection with nature, and the mutually beneficial ways that society and nature can persist together. He makes the case that by understanding the true scientific, philosophical, and spiritual bases of environmental positions we will be able to develop a means of preserving the health of our biosphere that simultaneously allows for the further growth and development of civilization.<p>No Man's Garden presents a vital challenge to the assumptions and conventional wisdom of environmentalism, and will be must reading for anyone interested in developing a deeper understanding of interactions between humans and nature.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Botkin (biology, Univ. of California, Santa Barbara; Our Natural History) uses the writings of Henry David Thoreau to offer a model for reconciling the perpetual conflict between nature and civilization. Humankind has always explored a person's physical and spiritual connection to nature, wondered if civilization and the environment can coexist, and questioned whether or not a person can know nature. The author believes that Thoreau's life and writings provide answers. The realization that nature is all around us, not just in huge, trackless wilderness areas, is an important first step. Beauty surrounds us, and Thoreau teaches us to accept and revel in the spirituality and creativity that flows from it. Attentiveness to our surroundings and ourselves as well as knowledge of the literature of great thinkers and writers lead each person to the tranquility of each "man's garden that will sustain nature and ourselves." Recommended for all libraries, especially those with environmental and philosophy collections.--Patricia Ann Owens, Wabash Valley Coll., Mt. Carmel, IL Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.
Booknews
Going beyond the stereotype of Thoreau (1817-62) as a poetic hermit and extreme positions on environmentalism, Botkin (ecology, evolution, and marine biology, U. of California, San Francisco) explains why he views Thoreau's observation-based relationship with nature as a model approach to balancing changing human material and spiritual needs while sustaining the likes of Walden Pond, Mono Lake, and forests worldwide. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781559634656
Publisher:
Island Press
Publication date:
10/28/2000
Edition description:
1
Pages:
288
Product dimensions:
6.58(w) x 9.16(h) x 0.90(d)

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