File Size: 17991 KB
Print Length: 418 pages
Publisher: Scribner (April 24, 2012)
Publication Date: April 24, 2012
In "American Canopy" you will discover that the Uk had designs on the land that would become America as early as 1584. Richard Hakluyt, a prominent British citizen and preeminent geographer proposed creating permanent settlements whereby transplanted Englishmen works the land. Hakluyt well understood the treasure trove of natural resources that seemed to be there for the taking. Timber was terribly needed to maintain and expand the British nautico fleet. Eventually colonies were established and by 1629 a shipbuilding industry was beginning to emerge in New England. But this was just the beginning of the storyplot....
As I indicated earlier "American Canopy" chronicles the important people, places, events and issues in the history of America's forests. Eric Rutkow offers up engaging stories involving several American presidents including George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and his distant cousin Franklin Roosevelt. You will learn about the explorers Lewis and Clark simon and discover the functions played by a distinguished group of other prominent Americans including Thomas Edison, Frederick Law Olmstead, Daniel Boone, Frederick Weyerhauser, Dernier-né Franklin, Henry Ford, John Chapman (aka Johnny Appleseed), Henry David Thoreau, Gifford Pinchot, James Fenimore Cooper and William Levitt to name but a few. Furthermore, you will discover that when our nation was initially satisfied the forest cover was estimated to be some one billion acres and how over a period of just 300 years that figure would dwindle to just 600 million acres. Rutkow talks extensively about the negative effects clear-cutting, insects, fire and disease experienced on our woodlands over the centuries. This is not a quite picture however, you may actually be encouraged incidentally America has chosen to fight back in recent decades. An individual will also discover the role the federal government has played in the development and protection of our forests and wilderness areas over the years. Rutkow cites the creation of Yellowstone National Park in 1872 and John Muir's amazing effort to set up Yosemite National Park as particularly substantial milestones. I was also very happy to read about the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) that was structured on President Franklin Roosevelt in 1933. As a result of that program a young man from Providence, Rhode Island, who would eventually become my dad, was able to spend a couple of years working in the wilds of Wyoming sowing trees, carving out paths, erecting firetowers and building fire protection roads among other things. This proved to be a very rewarding experience for so many teenagers during that difficult monetary time. Meanwhile, Rutkow also documents the origins and evolution of both the "conservation" and "environmentalist" movements in this nation. Merely "protecting the nation's forests" would morph into "conservation" a philosophy that proclaimed that "all natural resources ought to be managed with an eye towards sustainability and successful use. " Then in 1960 with the passageway of MUSYA (Multiple-Use Suffered Yield Act) the us government would declare that "It is the policy of the Congress that the countrywide forests are established and shall be administered for outdoor recreation, range, timber, watershed, wildlife and seafood purposes". Note the amazing enhancements made on emphasis here. Our nation's forests were no longer merely a resource to be exploited for profit. Very interesting indeed!
So whether you are a history buff or just someone who is endlessly curious about the world around you "American Canopy: Trees, Forests, and the Making of a Nation" should be right up your alley. This is a thoughtful, meticulously researched and well-written book. I must inform you that this is easily the best book I have read thus far in 2012. That is such a interesting topic. In my view "American Canopy" is an extremely important work and I suspect that Eric Rutkow is someone we will be hearing a lot more from later on. He proves to be a very gifted article writer! This is a book that is certainly worth your time and energy and attention. Very strongly suggested!, Even if you don't read a lot of history, American Canopy has something to offer for the casual, educated viewer while still packing in a lot of details and some potentially new arguments for the more well-versed. It moves through a series of stories on the impact of trees on the background and development of America. In fact, this viewer comes away with impression that America as it exists could never have happened with our incredible trees. In sometimes hearbreaking fashion, the book shows how trees have been exploited or decimated in the past and and highlights some of the cosequences of not protecting or managing these valuable resources. See for example, the Peshtigo fire that wiped out thousands and laid spend to miles of forest.
The characters are lively and the storytelling really makes this great to read. Rutkow sheds light on the close connection many well known Americans have had with trees such as Washington, FDR and Thoreau. Additionally , he tells the story of several fascinating figures such as Johnny Appleseed and the lumber barron Frederick Weyerhaeuser (who I experienced never heard of before reading this book). On the way, you learn a lot about the role of trees in shaping the state of our country today. Once you start reading this book, you start to see trees in a whole new light. How does15419 the first settlers have felt landing among giant forests that have no parallel on the east coast today? If you ever go for a walk in the wood or a stroll in a park, you must appreciate the foresight of those who saw the value of preserving and sowing trees. We learn from American Canopy that most of these places, even the crazy seeming ones, aren't there by accident. Overall, this book really kept me switching pages and I discovered a lot., The best history books bring long deceased historical figures back to life, instilling the same hopes, fears, and passions in the viewer that the characters experienced themselves. Usually, these numbers are known for their role in major events or for having a positive effect that radiates far past their physical lives. Historian Eric Rutkow illuminates one of these simple under-appreciated participants in the American history narrative, but Rutkow's main character is not a person but rather an easily overlooked plant: a tree! Because Rutkow notes, "trees are the loudest silent numbers in America's complicated background. "
American Canopy begins with a highly interesting prologue about Prometheus, a tree that stood apparently unchanged for over Nevasca over 5, 000 years. The tragic yet redemption story introduces Rutkow's premise but differs in one important aspect. Other trees in America were not frozen, passive observers as civilization expanded around them. As America evolved, the forests changed in conjunction. In colonial times, trees were an obstacle to overcome, concealing Indians in the forest and obstructing the plow as stumps. As industrialism proliferated in the 19th Century, wood became the "stalwart of American development"--and the preservation movement subsequently responded by curtailing the carelessness and waste that caused forest fires and ecosystem damage. The automobile and highway building by the CCC made camping and backyard recreation in national woodlands accessible to almost all Americans--and Aldo Leopold replied by spearheading a motion to preserve the pristine wilderness.
Individual forests experienced dynamic changes, as utilizes were learned several species, imported diseases erased the American Chestnut and Elm, and deciduous trees packed in the white this tree forests. Old growth woodlands were clear cut, transformed into farmland, and then later restored into commercial woods plantations. Americans' attitude towards trees changed as well. Inside a short period of time, Americans went from cutting trees for fire wood to planting trees for fruit and later for shade, drought prevention, and finally to counteract global increased temperatures. Rutkow shows that trees are as American as apple pie--or maybe as American since the hard apple cider that sustained countless homesteads in the impérialiste period.
The most effective aspect of this work is the way Rutkow brings in anecdotes from all sorts of American history designs and relates them to trees. It turns out that frequently trees are not simply a side story, but a prominent contributor to more widely known activities. For example, Englishman Richard Hakylut advocated colonial exploration in the late 15th century mostly as a method to acquire ship masts from Brand new England pine trees to counteract supply shortages and keep pace with the Spanish Navy. It was also interesting to learn that the major reason why George Washington ceded power so easily after the Revolutionary War is that he longed to cultivate his tree collection at Mount Vernon. Virtually all facets of American politics, society, and culture are somehow inspired by trees. Central Park was even envisioned partly as a way to refine the lower steps of society in New York.
For those familiar with American history, especially ecological history, a few of the book's material (especially from the progressive era onward) will be a review. United states Canopy is in the same vein as ecological history works such as Nature's Metropolis, which first brought to light the intricate connections between Chicago, il and its hinterlands, like the Great Lakes logging industry. American Canopy is unique for bringing together designs from the entirety of American history and for using trees as the common denominator to connect different eras. As an overview of centuries, some of the stories lack depth, and Rutkow consumes very little space connecting the themes between the sometimes disparate sections. Popular figures like Gifford Pinchot are described in details, but other important thoughts get glossed to an extent. Women were substantially absent, perhaps this is the circumstance in the primary source material also (I can simply remember Lady Bird Manley being mentioned).
The most amazing truth is the pure magnitude of uses for forest products and the information for the tremendous volume of wood that was extracted. Just one English ship required an astonishing two thousand walnut trees. Railroads were known as the "iron horse" nonetheless they were primarily composed almost entirely of wood--including the bridges, cars, gas, ties, and even the side rails themselves. Each types of woods had specific uses and Rutkow explains in more detail why White Pine was preferred for ship masts, longleaf pines for turpentine, and Sitka spruce for WWI airplanes. The various descriptions (by Rutkow and his sources) make it especially sad to read about the United states Elm, "the most wonderful vegetable in the temperate zone, " succumbing to disease. After finishing this book, one will almost certainly advocate for increased concern and protection for trees. American Canopy will definitely go down as one of the better background books of the 12 months, but it falls quick of the top tier of American history works.
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