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This is the only compact yet comprehensive survey of environmental and cultural forces that have shaped the visual character and geographical diversity of the settled American landscape. This book examines the large-scale historical influences that have moulded the varied human adaptation of the continent's physical topography to its needs over more than 500 years. It presents a synoptic view of myriad historical processes working together or in conflict, and illustrates them through their survival in or disappearance from the everyday landscapes of today.