The Columbia Guide to American Environmental History

Merchant, Carolyn | from Multimedia Library Collection:
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Merchant, Carolyn. The Columbia Guide to American Environmental History. New York: Columbia University Press, 2002. Carolyn Merchant is rightfully recognized as one of the preeminent environmental historians in the United States. Her reference book on the history of the North American environment consists of five parts. Part 1 is an historical overview which was written “to offer a framework within which further reading and research can be interpreted, elaborated, or contested.” Part 2 is an alphabetical compendium which briefly defines and describes agencies, concepts, laws, and people important in the environmental history of the United States. Part 3 offers a short chronology of American environmental history. Part 4 is a resource guide, which provides an annotated list of films and videos, electronic resources, and books related to environmental history. In the end, The Columbia Guide to American Environmental History is a useful reference book for high school or college libraries. But Merchant would have attained her goal of stimulating further research in environmental history more successfully if she had given freer rein to her interpretive flair, if she had confronted readers with more primary evidence, if she had given them a keener sense of the controversies in the field, and if she had more convincingly presented the real-world significance of research in environmental history. (Text adapted from an H-Net review by Theodore Binnema.) Carolyn Merchant is the Chancellor’s Professor of Environmental History, Philosophy, and Ethics at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of several books, including The Death of Nature, Ecological Revolutions, and Earthcare, and is a former president of the American Society for Environmental History.