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Landscapes of Promise: The Oregon Story, 1800-1940

Series: Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books

By: William G Robbins(Author), William Cronon(Foreword By)

416 pages, 21 illustrations

University of Washington Press

Paperback | Mar 2000 | #107146 | ISBN: 0295979011
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £15.99 $21/€18 approx
Hardback | Jul 2015 | #231782 | ISBN-13: 9780295996219
Availability: Usually dispatched within 5 days Details
NHBS Price: £73.99 $96/€84 approx
Hardback | Dec 2000 | #107147 | ISBN: 0295976322
Out of Print Details

About this book

Landscapes of Promise is the first comprehensive environmental history of the early years of a state that has long been associated with environmental protection. Covering the period from early human habitation to the end of World War II, William Robbins shows that the reality of Oregon's environmental history involves far more than a discussion of timber cutting and land-use planning.

Robbins demonstrates that ecological change is not only a creation of modern industrial society. Native Americans altered their environment in a number of ways, including the planned annual burning of grasslands and light-burning of understory forest debris. Early Euro-American settlers who thought they were taming a virgin wilderness were merely imposing a new set of alterations on an already modified landscape.

Beginning with the first 18th-century traders on the Pacific Coast, alterations to Oregon's landscape were closely linked to the interests of global market forces. Robbins uses period speeches and publications to document the increasing commodification of the landscape and its products. "Environment melts before the man who is in earnest," wrote one Oregon booster in 1905, reflecting prevailing ways of thinking.

In an impressive synthesis of primary sources and historical analysis, Robbins traces the transformation of the Oregon landscape and the evolution of our attitudes toward the natural world.


Prologue: The Essence of Place
The Early Historic Period, 1800-1850
- The Native Ecological Context
- The Great Divide
Settler Occupation and the Advent of Industrialism, 1850-1890
- Prescripting the Landscape
- Technology and Abundance
- Into the Hinterland
Extending the Industrial Infrastructure, 1890-1940
- Nature's Industries and the Rhetoric of Industrialism
- Industrializing the Woodlands
- Engineering Nature
- Toward systemic Change
Epilogue: One Moment in TIme

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