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American Environmental History

Warren, Louis S. (Herausgeber)

Blackwell Readers in American Social and Cultural History


2. Auflage August 2021
656 Seiten, Softcover
Wiley & Sons Ltd

ISBN: 978-1-4443-3939-0
John Wiley & Sons

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Explore how the peoples of America understood and changed their natural environments, remaking their politics, culture, and societies

In this newly revised Second Edition of American Environmental History, celebrated environmental historian and author Louis S. Warren provides readers with insightful examination of how different American peoples created and reacted to environmental change and threats from the era before Columbus to the COVID-19 pandemic.

You'll find concise editorial introductions to each chapter and interpretive interventions throughout this meticulous collection of essays and historical documents. This book covers topics as varied as Native American relations with nature, colonial invasions, American slavery, market expansion and species destruction, urbanization, Progressive and New Deal conservation, national parks, the environmental impact of consumer appetites, environmentalism and the backlash against it, environmental justice, and climate change.

This new edition includes twice as many primary documents as the First Edition, along with findings from related fields such as Native American history, African American history, geography, and environmental justice.

Ideal for students and researchers studying American environmental history and for those seeking historical perspectives on contemporary environmental challenges, this book will earn a place in the libraries of anyone with an interest in American history and the impact of American peoples on the environment and the world around them.

Louis S. Warren is the W. Turrentine Jackson Professor of Western U.S. History at the University of California, Davis. He is a two-time winner of the Caughey Western History Association Prize, a Guggenheim Fellow, and recipient of the Albert Beveridge Award of the American Historical Association and the Bancroft Prize in American History.

Series Editor's Preface


Introduction: What is Environmental History?

1 The Nature of Indian America Before Columbus

Article: William M. Denevan, "The Pristine Myth: The Landscape of the Americas in 1492" (Annals of the Association of American Geographers 82(3) 1992: 369-385)


Richard Nelson, "The Watchful World" (from Richard Nelson, Make Prayers to the Raven: A Koyukon View of the Northern Forest (University of Chicago, 1983): 14 - 32.

From Gilbert Wilson, Buffalo Bird Woman's Garden (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 1987)

Images of Florida Indians planting and making an offering of a stag to the sun (Images and text extracts from Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues, The Work of Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues, Vols. I and II).

U.S. Geological Survey, map of Bitterroot Forest Reserve showing burned areas, 1890.

2 The Other Invaders: Deadly Diseases and Extraordinary Animals

Article: Alfred W. Crosby, "Virgin Soil Epidemics" (excerpted from Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900 - 1900 (Cambridge, 1987))


Frank Givens, "Saynday and Smallpox: The White Man's Gift"

From Thomas James, Three Years among the Indians and Mexicans

John C. Ewers, "Horse Breeding"

George Catlin, "Wild Horses at Play"

3 Colonial Natures: Marketing the Countryside

Article: William Cronon, "A World of Fields and Fences" excerpt from Changes in the Land: Indians Colonists and the Ecology of New England (Hill & Wang, 1983)


Robert Cushman, "Reasons and Considerations Touching the Lawfulness of Removing out of England into the Parts of America" (1622)

Lion Gardener, "Livestock and War in Colonial New England"

Spanish priests Joseph Murguia and Thomas de la Pena explain Indian frustration with settler livestock in colonial California

4 Slavery and the South Through Environmental History

Article: Mart Stewart, "Towards an Environmental History of the U.S. South"


newspaper advertisements for African slaves "from 'The Rice Coast' of West Africa, with knowledge of rice growing"

Wilderness songs of enslaved people, William Francis Allen, Slave Songs of the United States (1867)

Frederick Law Olmsted, "The Rice District"

5 Frontier Expansion and Waste

Article: Alan Taylor, "Wasty Ways": Stories of American Settlement" (from Environmental History 3(3) July 1998: 291 - 309 (excerpted)).


James Fenimore Cooper on "The Wasty Ways of Pioneers"

John J. Audubon and the Wonder of the Passenger Pigeon, 1830s

Reporting on Passenger Pigeons (1850)

Frederick J. Haskin, "One Bird Survives Millions" (1913)

Edwin Bryant, What I Saw in California

Thomas Cole, Excerpt from "Essay on American Scenery" (1836)

6 Environmental Reform In City and Factory

Article: Charles E. Rosenberg, From The Cholera Years: The United States in 1832, 1849, and 1866 ("Introduction," and "The Epidemic," from The Cholera Years (1962, rev. ed. 1987), 1-7, 13 - 39, excerpted)


"The Metropolitan Board of Health Suppresses Nuisances" (1866)

"Underground Life--Health Officers Clean Out a Dive" (1873)

San Francisco fire, 1850s

Los Angeles crowd with water flowing into aqueduct

Dynamited LA aqueduct, 1927.

Alice Hamilton describes the industrial workplace of the early 1900s (1943)

7 Emerging Markets and Vanishing Animals

Article: Dan Flores, "Bison Ecology and Bison Diplomacy Redux: Another Look at the Southern Plains from 1800 to 1850" (from Dan Flores, The Natural West: Environmental History in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains (University of Oklahoma, 2001)).


Billy Dixon, "Memories of buffalo hunting" (1870s)

Harper's Weekly, "Curing Hides and Bones" (1874)

Drake Hotel, Thanksgiving Menu, 1886

Baleen Demand and the Destruction of Whales (1907)

Advertisement for Thomson's Glove-Fitting Corset (1874)

"Destruction of Birds for Millinery Purposes," (1886)

"Cruelties of Fashion-Fine Feathers Make Fine Birds" (1883)

8 The Many Uses of Progressive Conservation

Article: Benjamin Heber Johnson, "Conservation, Subsistence, and Class at the Birth of Superior National Forest" (Environmental History 4(1) January 1999, 80 - 99).


Gifford Pinchot, "The Meaning of Conservation"

"Mr. A. A. Anderson, Special Supervisor of the Yellowstone and Teton Timber Reserves, Talks Interestingly of the Summer's Work"

Women Activists Take on Bird Hat Fashion

--Celia Thaxter, "Woman's Heartlessness" (1887)

Charles Askins Describes Game and Hunting Conditions in the South

Ben Senowin testifies about being apprehended for game law violations

9 National Parks and the Trouble With Wilderness

Article: William Cronon, "The Trouble with Wilderness, or, Getting Back to the Wrong Nature" (from William Cronon, ed., Uncommon Ground (Norton, 1995).


John Muir on Saving Hetch Hetchy

Peter Oscar Little Chief requests permission to hunt in Glacier Park

National Parks Act, 1916; Wilderness Act, 1964

10 Conservation and the New Deal

Article: Neil Maher, "A New Deal Body Politic: Landscape, Labor, and the Civilian Conservation Corps," Environmental History, 7, no. 3 (Summer 2002): 435-461 (excerpt)


Ann Marie Low, Farmer's Daughter, Describes the New Deal

Excerpt from Russell Moore, Roosevelt Riddles (1936)

Photo Gallery--Dorothea Lange and Arthur Rothstein Capture the Dust Bowl

Eli Gorman and Deneh Bitsilly Remember New Deal Livestock Reduction in Navajo Country (1974)

11 Something In the Wind: Radiation, Pesticides, and Air Pollution

Article: Robert Gottlieb, "Reconstructing Environmentalism: Complex Movements, Diverse Roots" (Environmental History 17(4) Winter, 1993: 1-19 (excerpted).


"Fallout: The Silent Killer" (1959)

From Rachel Carson, Silent Spring (1962)

Monsanto Corporation, excerpt from "The Desolate Year" (1962)

The Hugh Moore Fund, "The Population Bomb" (1954)

The Air Pollution Control Act (1955)

The Clean Air Act, with amendments (2001)

United Farm Workers, "Pesticides: The Poisons We Eat" (1969)

12 Environmental Protection and the Environmental Movement

Article: J. Brooks Flippen, "Richard Nixon and the Triumph of Environmentalism" (excerpted from Flippen, Nixon and the Environment (New Mexico, 2000): 1- 16, 46-49, 83-87, 98, 233-6, 243-4, 250, 254-5).


National Environmental Policy Act (1969)

The Endangered Species Act (1973)

From Daniel Yankelovich, "The New Naturalism" (1972)

Gaylord Nelson Newsletter, "Earth Day" (1970)

Black Environmentalists See "Another Side of Pollution" (1970)

From Paul Ehrlich, The Population Bomb (1969)

13 Environmental Racism and Environmental Justice

Article: Eileen Maura McGurty, "From NIMBY to Civil Rights: The Origins of the Environmental Justice Movement" (excerpted from Environmental History 2(3) July, 1997: 301-323.


Lois Gibbs on toxic waste and environmental justice(1992)

From United Church of Christ, Toxic Wastes and Race in the United States (1987)

The Letter that Shook a Movement (1993)

Flint Water Advisory Task Force, "Final Report" (Excerpt) (2016)

14 Global Consumers and Global Environments

Article: Matt Klingle, "Spaces of Consumption in Environmental History," History and Theory, 42(4) Dec. 2003, 94 - 110 (excerpt)


A Botanist's Report on Bananas in Honduras (1931)

The Impact of Coffee Farming on Indigenous Peoples (2005)

State of Denial--California's Appetite for World Resources (2003)

15 Back-Lash Against the Environmental Movement

Article: James Morton Turner, "The Specter of Environmentalism: Wilderness, Environmental Politics, and the Evolution of the New Right," Journal of American History 96 (1) June, 2009: 123 - 149


Map of U.S. Federal Lands (2020)

Tim Peckinpaugh, "Special Report-The Specter of Environmentalism: The Threat of Environmental Groups" (1982)

Joe Lane (National Cattlemen's Association) and Larry Echohawk (Shoshone and Bannock Tribes of Idaho), testify about the Sagebrush Rebellion (1980)

Carl Pope, "The Politics of Plunder"

S. Fred Singer, "The Costs of Environmental Overregulation"

Mark Douglas Whitaker, "'Jobs vs. Environment' Myth"

16 Shifting Scale: Climate Change and Global Peril

Article: Mike Hulme, "Reducing the Future to Climate: A Story of Climate Determinism and Reductionism" (excerpt, from Osiris 2011 26:245-266)


Ben J. Wattenberg, "The Population Explosion is Over" (1996)

"World Population is Expected to Nearly Stop Growing by the End of the Century"

From United Nations, "World Population Prospects" (2019)

Graph of Economic Growth and Air Emission Trends, 1970 - 2018

Graph of Atmospheric CO2 Concentration, 1958-2020

Atmospheric CO2 concentrations, 800,000 BP-present

The Acid Rain Experience, 1990-2002

Atmospheric CFC Concentration, 1977-2019

Global Land-Ocean Temperature Index, 2020 (NASA)

Louis S. Warren is the W. Turrentine Jackson Professor of Western U.S. History at the University of California, Davis. He is a two-time winner of the Caughey Western History Association Prize, a Guggenheim Fellow, and recipient of the Albert Beveridge Award of the American Historical Association and the Bancroft Prize in American History.

L. S. Warren, University of California at Davis