Magazine article American Forests

Wilderness and the Changing American West

Magazine article American Forests

Wilderness and the Changing American West

Article excerpt

by Gundars Rudzitis. Wiley & Sons, Inc., 605 Third Ave., New York, NY 10158 (1997). 235 pp., paper. ISBN 0-47113396-5, $34.95.

This is one of those rare books which speaks clearly to the general reader as well as to policy experts because the author, a professor of geography, has the courage to take a reasoned, but unambiguous stand on a controversial issue. "I have followed my interpretation of the 'facts' to where I think they should lead me, knowing that others may disagree with my conclusions and recommendations. That is how it should be," he states. That kind of courage-in the tradition of writer Mike Frome-is made all the more exciting by Rudzitis' lively and interesting prose, which moves easily between theory and everyday reality.

In a relatively brief book, he uses remarkable skill and insight to capture the historical context of wilderness protection and the current debates over public policy. He explores the meanings and relationships of "Wilderness" and "The West," the roots of tensions between public land-management agencies and traditions of the Old West, and the tough policy choices we face in the future. …

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