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Good Reads  Habitats & Ecosystems  Forests & Wetlands

The Agony of an American Wilderness Loggers, Environmentalists and the Struggle for Control of a Forgotten Forest

By: Samuel A MacDonald(Author)
200 pages, no illustrations
The Agony of an American Wilderness
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  • The Agony of an American Wilderness ISBN: 9780742541580 Paperback Mar 2005 Not in stock: Usually dispatched within 1-2 weeks
  • The Agony of an American Wilderness ISBN: 9780742541573 Hardback Feb 2005 Out of Print #154822
Selected version: £31.99
About this book Contents Customer reviews Biography Related titles

About this book

From the publisher:

"The Allegheny National Forest, Pennsylvania, exists on what might have been the most heavily exploited landscape in the history of civilization. Careful stewardship over the last eight decades has transformed it into a beautiful forest that contains countless wildlife species and some of the world's most valuable timber. Local communities are steeped in pride for having written that unprecedented environmental success story. Unfortunately, the Allegheny is now the focus of a caustic new timber war that will ultimately test the limits of American environmentalism. No longer satisfied with protecting the pristine old growth that captured the national imagination in the early 1990s, activists have embarked on a campaign to put an end to the Allegheny timber program. Litigation and protests have shaken the region for a decade. More recently, it has become a hotbed of eco-terrorism. But restoring the Allegheny to something activists accept will be far more difficult, expensive, and explosive than setting aside a few million acres for the northern spotted owl. This book examines the communities caught in the middle of that political crossfire and forces Americans to decide if they are ready to accept the new activist agenda: In their own words, 'If we can stop logging on the Allegheny, we can stop it everywhere.'"


Introduction: Welcome to "Pennsyltucky:" A Strange New Front in the Great American Timber War

Chapter 1. The Forgotten Forest: The Allegheny Experience, From Old Growth to Brush Heap and Beyond
Chapter 2. Meet the Activists: History, Culture and Politics Collide at the Annual Gathering
Chapter 3. Mom and Pop Go Bust: The Complex Plight of the Allegheny Sawmill
Chapter 4. I Work in the Woods: Fear and Logging on the Allegheny
Chapter 5. Restoration, Reality and the Perils of Science: Can the Allegheny Become a Wilderness Again?
Chapter 6. Take It to the Streets: Radical Activists Battle Pre-teen Satirists for Control
Chapter 7. Third Way or Third Rail?: Zero Cut Meets Resistance From Within
Chapter 8. The Anti-Activist: A Right-wing Renaissance Man in the Land of Bulls, Bars and "Dinors"
Chapter 9. Legal Eagles, Underdogs and the Fish that (Almost) Ate Pittsburgh: Half Steps and Caveats in Federal Court
Chapter 10. Wilderness Revisted: What is Pretty? And Why It Matters.
Chapter 11. Old Growth, New Economy and the Tourism Promise: If you build it, who will come?

Epilogue: The Great Green Pendulum
About the Author

Customer Reviews


Samuel A. MacDonald is an award-winning journalist who has covered courts, crime, Washington politics, and war-torn Bosnia. He has served as the Washington editor of the libertarian monthly, Reason. His stories have earned several first-place finishes in the annual Maryland, Delaware and District of Columbia Press Association Awards. MacDonald was awarded a Phillips Foundation Journalism Fellowship in May of 2002 and spent the next 18 months investigating the environmental battle unfolding on the Allegheny National Forest. He has written about the crisis for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and his findings and observations about the Allegheny timber wars have been sought by numerous media outlets.

By: Samuel A MacDonald(Author)
200 pages, no illustrations
Media reviews

"The Agony of an American Wilderness is destined to be a classic case history study of the political/psychological/social/legal 'game that people play' relative to the national forest management. Until Congress sees fit to sever the Gordian Knot that increasingly binds federal forest managers, such political passion plays are the likely future for the management of federal lands."
– Jack Ward Thomas, Boone and Crockett Professor of Wildlife Conservation, University of Montana; Chief Emeritus, U.S. Forest Service

"Journalist MacDonald (who was born and raised in the region) examines the communities that are caught in the crossfire of this debate and argues that the "zero-cut" philosophy of forest resource management is too extreme."
Scitech Book News

"He has done us all a service in laying out, in a down-to-earth style, the history and nature of the forest, and the pros and cons of the opposing camps' arguments."
The Philadelphia Inquirer

"The Agony of an American Wilderness shifts our attention from the traditional battlegrounds of the wilderness movement, the old growth forests of the West, to the Allegheny National Forest. Here, Sam MacDonald offers us a fascinating glimpse of a damaged land on the mend and the people living in it."
– Pete Geddes, program director, the Foundation for Research on Economics and the Environment

"Interviews, a history of regional logging and environmentalism, and a look at locals versus tourists make this a must-read for those who believe heated environmental controversies only exist on the west coast."
Western Pennsylvania History

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