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From Sea to Shining Sea: Key Resources in U.S. Environmental History (March 2015): General Books on Environmental History

by Larry T. Spencer

General Books on Environmental History

Roderick Nash first published Wilderness and the American Mind in 1967. The book is now in its fifth edition, in which Nash has expanded the preface and epilogue to reflect recent scholarly views. Char Miller, biographer of Gifford Pinchot, provides a new foreword that indicates the many changes in the field of environmental history and the way scholars are now dealing with the world and the human-built environment. Less frequently read and cited is Nash’s The Rights of Nature: A History of Environmental Ethics. Other books that examine the role of nature with respect to the history of the United States are Ted Steinberg’s Down to Earth: Nature’s Role in American History, Steve Nicholls’s Paradise Found: Nature in America at the Time of Discovery, and Mark Fiege’s The Republic of Nature: An Environmental History of the United States. Michael Lewis’s American Wilderness: A New History covers in a series of essays many of the same topics that Nash covers. Although his is not strictly an environmental history book, Simon Winchester covers many environmentally related topics in The Men Who United the States: America’s Explorers, Inventors, Eccentrics and Mavericks, and the Creation of One Nation, Indivisible. Much broader in scope and more ecological in nature is Tim Flannery’s The Eternal Frontier: An Ecological History of North America and Its Peoples. A more politically oriented book is James Morton Turner’s The Promise of Wilderness: American Environmental Politics since 1964. Ted Steinberg also wrote an interesting book, Acts of God: The Unnatural History of Natural Disaster in America, in which he studies the role of political economy behind the disasters. Yes, Hurricane Katrina might have destroyed New orleans, but what were the political decisions that worsened the disaster?

Works Cited