By Ted Steinberg
A journey de strength of writing and research, right down to Earth bargains a sweeping historical past of our kingdom, person who for the 1st time locations the surroundings on the very heart of our tale. Writing with fabulous readability, historian Ted Steinberg sweeps around the centuries, re-envisioning the tale of the US as he recounts how the surroundings has performed a key position in nearly each social, financial, and political improvement. starting from the colonists' makes an attempt to impose order at the land to the fashionable efforts to promote the barren region as a client strong, packaged in nationwide parks and Alaskan cruises, Steinberg reminds readers that many severe episodes in our historical past have been, actually, environmental occasions: the California Gold Rush, for instance, or the nice migration of African american citizens to the North within the early 20th century (in half the outcome of an insect infestation). both very important, Steinberg highlights the ways that we have now predicted nature, trying to reshape and keep watch over it--from Thomas Jefferson's surveying plan that divided the nationwide panorama right into a grid, to the transformation of animals, vegetation, or even water into commodities (New Englanders begun buying and selling water rights via the early 19th century). From the Pilgrims to Disney global, Steinberg's narrative abounds with attention-grabbing info and sometimes anxious insights into our interplay with the wildlife. Few books actually swap the way in which we see the prior. all the way down to Earth is one among them: a brilliant narrative that finds the surroundings to be a strong strength in our history--a strength that needs to be tested if we're really to appreciate ourselves.
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Additional info for Down to Earth: Nature's Role in American History
In the summer, the Indians along the coast moved further inland to hunt turkeys and squirrels and gather berries, returning back downstream in time to harvest crops in the fall. The Indians were so attuned to the seasonal variation that characterized the forest that they often gave the months such names as “herring month” (March) or “strawberry month” (June) to describe the food they had come to expect from the landscape. Meanwhile, as the weather turned colder, nuts and acorns proliferated, attracting such game as deer and bears.
Panthers and wolves also felt the effects of the decline. But like many ecological changes, the results were not always simple. Some species of birds actually flourished as the forests disappeared. Foxes and wolves adversely affected by the clearing trend could no longer prey on bobwhite quail, for example. 33 Second, cutting down trees also changed the climate. Tree canopies shaded the land from sunlight and kept down summer temperatures on the ground. In the winter, even though the leaves in an oak and hickory forest would be gone, the trees themselves helped to insulate the soil below, moderating the effect of the cold.
Some deeds even included graphic renderings of the landscape drawn by Indians themselves that reserved for them rights to continue their subsistence practices. In 1703, for example, the Weantinock Indians, who lived and fished for shad and eels along the banks of the present-day Housatonic River in Connecticut, conveyed land to white settlers. 25 Nevertheless, the colonists did ultimately manage to convert the landscape into private property. Eventually, the land would be bought and sold for the purposes of profit, a development that has had enduring ecological consequences.