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Down to earth : nature's role in American history  Cover Image Book Book

Down to earth : nature's role in American history

Summary: In this text, the author, an environmental historian offers a history of the United States, a history that, for the first time, places the environment at the very center of the narrative. This new edition reenvisions the story of America "from the ground up." It reveals how focusing on plants, animals, climate, and other ecological factors can radically change the way that we think about the past. Examining such familiar topics as colonization, the industrial revolution, slavery, the Civil War, and the emergence of consumer culture, the author recounts how the natural world influenced the course of human history. From the colonists' attempts to impose order on the land to modern efforts to sell the wilderness as a consumer good, he reminds readers that many critical episodes in U.S. history were, in fact, environmental events. The text highlights the ways in which Americans have attempted to reshape and control nature, from Thomas Jefferson's surveying plan, which divided the national landscape into a grid, to the transformation of animals, crops, and even water into commodities. The second edition contains a revised and updated section on the twentieth century, and introduces a timely new theme, the rise of the corporation. By addressing the ways in which nature functions in the world of big business, as well as the efforts by environmentalists to combat corporate power, the author provides a richer understanding of consumerism.

Item details

  • ISBN: 9780195331820 (alk. paper)
  • ISBN: 0195331826 (alk. paper)
  • Physical Description: print
    xvi, 368 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm.
  • Edition: 2nd ed.
  • Publisher: New York : Oxford University Press, 2009.

Contents / Notes

Bibliography, etc. Note: Includes bibliographical references (p. 327-349) and index.
Formatted Contents Note: Prologue: Rocks and history -- Part one: Chaos to simplicity -- 1 Wilderness under fire -- 2 A truly new world -- 3 Reflections from a woodlot -- Part two: Rationalization and its discontents -- A world of commodities -- 5 King Climate in Dixie -- 6 The great food fight -- 7 Extracting the New South -- 8 The unforgiving West -- 9 Conservation reconsidered -- 10 Death of the organic city -- Part three: Consuming nature --11 Moveable feast -- 12 The secret history of meat -- 13 America in black and green -- 14 Throwaway society -- 15 Shades of green -- 16 In corporations we trust.
Subject: Human ecology United States History
Philosophy of nature United States History
Human beings Effect of environment on United States History
United States Environmental conditions
Human beings Effect of environment on
Human ecology
Philosophy of nature
United States
Genre: History.

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  • 1 out of 1 copy are currently available at PINES. (Show)
  • 1 out of 1 copy are currently available at Athens Regional Library System.


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Call Number / Copy Notes Barcode Shelving Location Status  
Athens Regional Library System:
      Athens-Clarke County Library
GR 333.713 STEINBERG ( Send Text)
31001002570241 GEORGIA Available

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