Books  General Natural History  Philosophy, Ethics & Religion 

Nature: Western Attitudes Since Ancient Times

By: Peter Coates

246 pages, no illustrations

Polity Press

Paperback | Sep 1998 | #84358 | ISBN: 0745616569
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £17.99 $23/€21 approx
Hardback | Sep 1998 | #85899 | ISBN: 0745616550
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £50.00 $64/€60 approx

About this book

&i;`This stimulating book covers a great deal of ground - from Classical and Christian theories to the Enlightenment and Romanticism and up to modern times - without overloading the reader in mere detail.'&o; Roy Porter, Wellcome Institute
&i;`I am very impressed with this book. It offers much more depth on most of the historical periods than any other book I've read...I couldn't stop reading it.'&o; - Michael Barbour, University of California, Davis

Common green wisdom attributes modern treatment of the environment to all sorts of legacies from history, usually Western, Judaeo-Christian and capitalist. Peter Coates examines all the usual suspects, from the Ancient Greeks, to Renaissance man and the thinkers of the Enlightenment, and no less critically the usual eco-heroes, from St Francis and the Zen Buddhists to the American Indians. He places shifting ideas and attitudes in the full and proper context of their time, and rightly condemns the tendency to raid the past for handy quotations to legitimize the campaigns of the present. He shows us how landscapes in England and elsewhere are related to these ideas, particularly show pieces like National Trust properties and American National Parks, but they are often landscapes of dispossession as well as landscapes of conservation. He takes us into the immediate antecedents of modern environmentalism and shows us a green side to Engels and (alarmingly) to Himmler as well as to Wordsworth and William Morris. Always judicious, Peter Coates's book will prove the best possible guide to the history of environmental ideas. Anyone who seriously wants to find a way through the maze of the past and to judge how we have arrived at the present and who prizes scholarship above polemics, will need to read this book. Professor T. C. Smout, Institute for Environmental History, University of St Andrews "For some years it has struck me as intriguing that there is no good recent history of nature - though in a sense hardly surprising since one could not imagine a more daunting subject for a historian to tackle.... I am delighted to say that Peter Coates's text fills the bill particularly well: it is clear, cogent, comprehensive, and well organized.... This is a stunning book." Roy Porter, Wellcome Institute for the History of Medicine "I am very impressed with this book. It offers much more depth on most of the historical periods than any other book I've read.... and I couldn't stop reading it." Michael Barbour, University of California, "Peter Coates's Nature is an engaging book, written in a lucid and accessible style and enlivened by the author's wry humour." Professor Peter Burke, Emmanuel College, Cambridge "Coates' prose is lively and his critical perspactive engaging...students and general readers will find this an enjoyable and thought-provoking introduction to some of the key ideas and debates within environmental history." Andrea Gaynor, University of Western Australia 'Peter Coates's book is a welcome, updated introduction to environmental history. Presuming no prior knowledge of the field on the part of his readers, Coates confirms the discipline's "status as one of the most enthralling...pursuits within historical studies" (p.viii). Though faced with a monumental task of synthesis - even within a considerably narrowed scope - Coates succeeds admirably.' Journal of the History of the Behavioural Sciences


Contents

Preface. 1. The Natures of Nature. 2. Ancient Greece and Rome. 3. The Middle Ages. 4. The Advent of Modernity. 5. The World Beyond Europe. 6. Nature as Landscape. 7. Reassessments of Nature: Romantic and Ecological. 8. The Disunited Colours of Nature. 9. The Future of Nature. Notes. Index.

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Biography

Peter Coates is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Historical Studies at the University of Bristol.

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