Rethinking the American Environmental Movement post-1945: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Rethinking the American Environmental Movement post-1945

1st Edition

By Ellen Spears


274 pages

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pub: 2019-07-15
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Rethinking the American Environmental Movement post-1945 turns a fresh interpretive lens on the past, drawing on a wide range of new histories of environmental activism to analyze the actions of those who created the movement and those who tried to thwart them.

Concentrating on the decades since World War II, environmental historian Ellen Griffith Spears explores environmentalism as a "field of movements" rooted in broader social justice activism. Noting major legislative accomplishments, strengths, and contributions, as well as the divisions within the ranks, the book reveals how new scientific developments, the nuclear threat, and pollution, as well as changes in urban living spurred activism among diverse populations. The book outlines the key precursors, events, participants, and strategies of the environmental movement, and contextualizes the story in the dramatic trajectory of U.S. history after World War II. The result is a synthesis of American environmental politics that one reader called both "ambitious in its scope and concise in its presentation."

This book provides a succinct overview of the American environmental movement and is the perfect introduction for students or scholars seeking to understand one of the largest social movements of the twentieth century up through the robust climate movement of today.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents




Introduction: A Field of Movements

Chapter 1: Antecedents: A Wide Arc (prior to1945)

Chapter 2: The Great Acceleration and the Rise of Environmentalism (1945-1964)

Chapter 3: Expanding the Field of Movements: From the Wilderness Act to Superfund (1964-1980)

Chapter 4: Conservative Countermovement and the Rise of Environmental Justice (1980-1990)

Chapter 5: Globalizing Environmentalism (1990-2001)

Chapter 6: Intersectional Activism and Climate Justice (2001-2018)

Chapter 7: Hope in a Strange Season



About the Author

Ellen Griffith Spears is an associate professor in the interdisciplinary New College and the Department of American Studies at the University of Alabama. She is author of the award-winning Baptized in PCBs: Race, Pollution, and Justice in an All-American Town (2014).

About the Series

American Social and Political Movements of the 20th Century

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / United States / 20th Century
HISTORY / Modern / 20th Century
HISTORY / Social History