The Environment in American History : Nature and the Formation of the United States book cover
1st Edition

The Environment in American History
Nature and the Formation of the United States

ISBN 9780415808729
Published December 11, 2014 by Routledge
440 Pages - 10 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

From pre-European contact to the present day, people living in what is now the United States have constantly manipulated their environment. The use of natural resources – animals, plants, minerals, water, and land – has produced both prosperity and destruction, reshaping the land and human responses to it. The Environment in American History is a clear and comprehensive account that vividly shows students how the environment played a defining role in the development of American society.

Organized in thirteen chronological chapters, and extensively illustrated, the book covers themes including:

  • Native peoples’ manipulation of the environment across various regions
  • The role of Old World livestock and diseases in European conquests
  • Plantation agriculture and slavery
  • Westward expansion and the exploitation of natural resources
  • Environmental influences on the Civil War and World War II
  • The emergence and development of environmental activism
  • Industrialization, and the growth of cities and suburbs
  • Ecological restoration and climate change

Each chapter includes a selection of primary documents, and the book is supported by a robust companion website that provides further resources for students and instructors. Drawing on current scholarship, Jeff Crane has created a vibrant and engaging survey that is a key resource for all students of American environmental history.

Table of Contents

1 Faith in a Generous Land
2 Pathogens and Plows in the Land of Plenty
3 A Great Fur and Hide Marketplace
4 A Great Farming Nation
5 “A Newer Garden of Creation”
6 Naturally Horrifying: Environment in the Civil War
7 Western Lands of Wealth and Violence
8 Conserving Resources, Saving Sacred Spaces, and Cleaning the Cities: America in the Conservation Era
9 Restoring and Transforming the Land in the 1920s and 1930s
10 Abundance and Terror: Americans in World War II
11 Environmental Consensus in the Republic of Abundance
12 Environmental Reform and Schism
13 A Time of Environmental Contradictions

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Jeff Crane is Associate Dean of the College of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. He is the author of Finding the River: An Environmental History of the Elwha, and co-editor of Natural Protest: Essays on the History of American Environmentalism.

Support Material

Companion Website

Please visit our companion website for additional support materials.