01 March 2013

American Canopy & The Wabash: the story behind the stories, Chapter 2

A continuation from the last post:



And as if that wasn't enough......for me to read a book about the history of conservation, or the lack thereof, was at times pure torture. I had public radio on about a year ago and heard an interview with Eric Rutkow, author of American Canopy, Trees, Forests, and the Making of a Nation. I was fascinated by the interview and ordered the book the next day. It was lengthy, wordy, but well-documented and all-encompassing. The book traced the nation's history through the trees and forests that helped shape our culture and economy, right through to the modern environmental movement. The book was often depressing (from my standpoint anyway) but truly enlightening. I had been chipping away at this book since last spring, with fewer and fewer chips as the summer months rolled in. I'm a firm believer in understanding one's past to avoid mistakes in the future-the culmination of knowledge gleaned from the book would make a conservationist out of anyone, especially as understood for the long-term stability of our own country. I wrapped up American Canopy just over a week ago and forwarded it to a good friend.


Lastly, and what got me started on my book-binge again, was a book with a simple title The Wabash by William Edward Wilson, published in 1940.  It was part of an American River series the author wrote.  My wife and I stole away for a weekend in South Haven, Michigan for our anniversary in October last year. There is a great book store filled with old books, Black River Books I think, that quickly drew both of us in. I, of course, went to the history section and happened upon this book for $8.00. A steal. The book reads somewhat like an historical account of life in Indiana's Wabash River valley, but infuses a great deal of story-telling as well. It was full of intriguing facts that included the circumstances that nearly led Indiana to be a slave state rather than a free state. It included a large section on Lincoln, a chapter on Indiana's authors, and a rather revealing chapter about Indiana's dark history with the rise of the KKK during the 1920s. Told from the perspective of 1940-the book was a great read about history from a cultural perspective foreign to us today. I finished The Wabash last month.

I'm not sure what awaits after Blue Highways. I'm taking recommendations, because I should-should-be finished with it about mid-March....unless the eyes grow heavy again.

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