Magazine article American Forests

George Perkins Marsh: Prophet of Conservation

Magazine article American Forests

George Perkins Marsh: Prophet of Conservation

Article excerpt

George Perkins Marsh: Prophet of Conservation

by David Lowenthal, $40.

University of Washington Press, 2000.

After undertaking a revision of his 1958 book George Perkins Marsh, Versatile Vermonter, author David Lowenthal soon realized his 40 years of research on Marsh required that he write a wholly new biography. "I had to reconsider histories, reassess motives and outcomes, revise and reverse judgements," he writes.

The result is an impressive historical biography rich in detail, context, and insight. Foremost, it is a masterful analysis of the impact of Marsh's monumental Man and Nature, published in 1862, which "brought environmental awareness and reform not just to America but to the whole world," according to Lowenthal.

The author's intimate involvement with Marsh's life story for more than 50 years allows him to give the reader a sense of actually being present during Marsh's life and times (1801-1882). Lowenthal's seemingly firsthand familiarity with Marsh is reflected in exquisite descriptions of life in the 19th century. …

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