Download American Wilderness: A New History by Michael Lewis PDF

By Michael Lewis

This gathered quantity of unique essays proposes to handle the nation of scholarship at the political, cultural, and highbrow background of american citizens responses to barren region from first touch to the current. whereas no longer bringing a man-made narrative to wasteland, the quantity will assemble competing interpretations of barren region in old context.

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If so much excellence abide below, / How excellent is he that dwells on high? / Whose power and beauty by his works we know. 5 Yet the sense that they walked in Eden again also worried Puritans, because Satan would surely tempt the new American Adam to a second Fall, and Paradise would again be lost. Puritans could never forget that human sin had exiled us all 40 American Wilderness from the Garden of Eden. ’’6 For his part, Edwards’s famous ‘‘Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God’’ decried how sinful man misused God’s good earth: Were it not for the sovereign pleasure of God, the earth would not bear you one moment; for you are a burden to it; the creation groans with you; the creature is made subject to the bondage of your corruption, not willingly, the sun does not willingly shine upon you to give you light to serve sin and Satan; the earth does not willingly yield her increase to satisfy your lusts.

Exodus and Deuteronomy told how Moses led the Israelites out of bondage in Egypt and into a forty-year sojourn in the wilderness. There, God punished misdeeds and rewarded devotion, fed them miraculously on manna, and brought them the Ten Commandments, before finally allowing them to enter the promised land. Later Hebrew prophets often retired to the wilderness, where, like Elijah, they might hear the ‘‘still, small voice’’ of God (1 Kings 19:12) or through God’s providence be fed (1 Kings 17:4–6).

This religious aspect of wilderness, even while it evolved under the ever-changing influences of culture, science, and economics, has given it a perpetual appeal in America’s famously religious culture and has inspired artists, writers, politicians, and activists to great and important deeds for its defense and preservation. A religious appreciation for ‘‘untrammeled’’ land that people only visit is unusual in the world and deserves explanation. Morality, ethics, and religious practices almost universally deal with the relationship of humans with each other in society or with the supernatural; they presuppose communities of humans in the landscape, not a ‘‘community of life’’ that excludes humans and human works.

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