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American Environmental History: An Introduction

By: Carolyn Merchant

480 pages, B/w illus

Columbia University Press

Paperback | Nov 2007 | Edition: 2 | #168984 | ISBN-13: 9780231140355
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Hardback | Nov 2007 | Edition: 2 | #168985 | ISBN-13: 9780231140348
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Hardback | Jun 2002 | #131590 | ISBN: 0231112327
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About this book

Environmental history first emerged as a distinct area of scholarship in the early 1970s and has been growing steadily ever since. By studying the many ways diverse peoples have changed, shaped, and conserved the natural world over time, environmental historians provide insight into humanity's unique relationship with nature and, more importantly, are better able to understand the origins of our current environmental crisis. Beginning with Native Americans and concluding with the global ecological crisis, this volume explores contentious issues such as the preservation of the wilderness, the expulsion of native peoples from national parks, and population growth, and considers the formative forces of gender, race, and class. Entries address the impact of rice cultivation and slavery, African American perceptions of nature, the Russian sea otter trade, Columbia River salmon fisheries, the growth of the suburbs, the environmental justice movement, and globalization.

This reference is an essential companion for students interested in the ongoing transformation of the American landscape and the conflicts over its resources and conservation. The volume also makes rich use of the tools and resources (climatic and geological data, court records, archeological digs, the writings of naturalists) that environmental historians rely on to conduct their research. Also crucial is the volume's compendium of significant people, concepts, events, agencies, and legislation, and its extensive bibliography listing critical films, books, and Web sites.

This volume, like others in the series, should prove to be welcome. -- Booklist "Essential for colleges, university, and large public libraries, and special libraries supporting U.S. history, ecology, geography, or environmentalism." -- Choice "This is a one-volume resource not to be missed. It will be our primary reference work on American environmental history." -- John Opie, Environmental History "Merchant takes a most useful approach to environmental scholarship by encapsulating a daunting range of factual information and critical information into this practical volume... one of the best books of its kind." -- History "[Carolyn Merchant] is eminently qualified to produce this fifth edition to "The Columbia Guides to American History and Cultures" series... there is a great deal to admire in this guide." -- Environment and History "An impressive introduction to environmental history... Merchant has succeeded in producing an accessible first stop handbook that will be relied on for many years." -- Environmental Practice "Merchant has been one of the most important scholars building the field of environmental history. Her excellent guide will be of use to new students in environmental history and to established scholars coming into the field from other areas." -- John H. Perkins, The Quarterly Review of Biology "Merchant provides a valuable introduction to the topics and perspectives that characterize the discipline." -- Arn Keeling, H-Net Reviews


Part I Historical overview - topics and themes. Part II Topical compendium - an A to Z mini-encyclopaedia. Part III Chronology. Part IV Resource guide.

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Carolyn Merchant is the Chancellor's Professor of Environmental History, Philosophy, and Ethics at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of several books including The Death of Nature, Ecological Revolutions, and Earthcare, and is president of the American Society for Environmental History.

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