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*Starred Review* Environmental writing, McKibben explains in his introduction to this unique, much needed anthology, subsumes and goes beyond nature writing and takes as its subject the collision between people and the rest of the world. An important environmental writer himself, McKibben has selected works by expected seminal figures, beginning with Thoreau, always startling in his prescience and sure-footed clarity, and moving on to Muir, Leopold, and Carson. But he also includes George Perkins Marsh, whose Man and Nature (1864) was the first major work of scientific environmentalism ; landscape architect Frederick Law Olmstead; and song lyrics by Joni Mitchell. McKibben devotes most of the volume to writers of the last quarter-century, such as Wendell Berry, Barbara Kingsolver, and Michael Pollan, who have focused on increasingly urgent environmental dilemmas that affect every aspect of our daily lives. In his foreword, Nobel laureate Al Gore (his 1997 speech at the Kyoto Climate Change Conference is included) observes, a truth eloquently expressed has an influence greater than any elected official, while McKibben hopes that the eloquence of these 100 pioneering environmentalists will spur not only reflection but action as well. If you had to choose but one environmental book this season, make it American Earth.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2008 Booklist


School Library Journal
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Adult/High School-There have been some excellent collections of nature writing published in recent years (The Norton Anthology of Nature Writing is one fine example), but not until now has there been a definitive anthology of American environmental writing. In this superbly edited volume, McKibben draws a clear distinction between the two. The best of the latter often celebrates nature, but also asks searching questions about the impact of human life on the planet. After a poignant foreword by Al Gore, as well as his own illuminating introduction, McKibben begins with the work of a writer, thinker, and activist ahead of his time, Henry David Thoreau, and ends the volume with Rebecca Solnit's essay, "The Thoreau Problem." She notes that many people think of Thoreau only as a man alone observing nature, but the author of "Civil Disobedience," before enjoying his day of huckleberry picking, spent a night in jail rather than pay taxes to a government guilty of ignoring the higher laws of nature. This vast and varied collection, arranged chronologically, includes many seminal names, such as John Muir, Rachel Carson, and Wendell Berry, and some that are less well known or unexpected, like Benton MacKaye, Caroline Henderson, P. T. Barnum, and Philip K. Dick. Most of the selections derive from longer prose works, but there is also a smattering of poems, song lyrics, and cartoons. Although the heft of the volume might scare away some teens, others may realize that they could easily read bits and pieces, and that they would benefit greatly by any amount of time spent in these pages. Numerous photographs, many in full color, are included.-Robert Saunderson, Berkeley Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.


Publishers Weekly
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In his introduction to this superb anthology, McKibben (The End of Nature) proposes that "environmental writing is America's most distinctive contribution to the world's literature." The collected pieces amply prove the point. Arranged chronologically, McKibben's selection of more than 100 writers includes some of the great early conservationists, such as Henry David Thoreau, John Muir and John Burroughs, and many other eloquent nature writers, including Donald Cultross Peattie, Edwin Way Teale and Henry Beston. The early exponents of national parks and wilderness areas have their say, as do writers who have borne witness to environmental degradation-John Steinbeck and Caroline Henderson on the dust bowl, for example, and Berton Roueche and others who have reported on the effects of toxic pollution. Visionaries like Buckminster Fuller and Amory Lovins are represented, as are a wealth of contemporary activist/writers, among them Barry Lopez, Terry Tempest Williams, Barbara Kingsolver, Michael Pollan, Paul Hawken, and Calvin deWitt, cofounder of the Evangelical Environmental Network. McKibben's trenchant introductions to the pieces sum up each writer's thoughts and form a running commentary on the progress of the conservation movement. The book, being published on Earth Day, can be read as a survey of the literature of American environmentalism, but above all, it should be enjoyed for the sheer beauty of the writing. 80-page color illus, not seen by PW. (Apr. 22 [Earth Day]) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved


Library Journal
(c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Billed as "a special publication of The Library of America," this massive anthology (to be published on Earth Day, April 22, 2008) offers over 100 authors' views on various aspects of environmentalism in the United States, such as global warming, defending our natural resources, nuclear nonproliferation, American Indian rights, air and water pollution, and protecting animals in the wild. The authors include poets, novelists, songwriters, politicians, journalists, essayists, scientists, and academics, but the focus is on those who love the land and strive to protect it from interests that want to harm or neglect it. This compilation works best as an introduction to various writers and activists who are not as well known to the American public as they should be. It encourages readers to find and enjoy the complete texts, going beyond these well-chosen excerpts by McKibben (himself an environmental activist). Recommended for all public and academic undergraduate libraries. (The 80 pages of color inserts, the chronology of the environmental movement and American environmental history, notes, sources and acknowledgments, and the index not seen.)-Morris Hounion, Ursula C. Schwerin Lib., NYC Coll. of Technology, CUNY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.