Down to Earth Nature's Role in American History

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Edition: 4th
Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 2018-09-14
Publisher(s): Oxford University Press
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Summary

In this ambitious and provocative text, environmental historian Ted Steinberg offers a sweeping history of the United States--a history that places the environment at the very center of the narrative. Now in a new edition, Down to Earth reenvisions the story of America "from the ground up." It reveals how focusing on plants, animals, climate, and other ecological factors can radically change the way that we think about the past. Examining such familiar topics as colonization, the industrial revolution, slavery, the Civil War, and the emergence of consumer culture, Steinberg recounts how the natural world influenced the course of human history. From the colonists' attempts to impose order on the land to modern efforts to sell the wilderness as a consumer good, he reminds readers that many critical episodes in U.S. history were, in fact, environmental events. The text highlights the ways in which Americans have attempted to reshape and control nature, from Thomas Jefferson's surveying plan, which divided the national landscape into a grid, to the transformation of animals, crops, and even water into commodities.

Author Biography


Ted Steinberg is Adeline Barry Davee Distinguished Professor of History and Law at Case Western Reserve University.

Table of Contents


CONTENTS

Acknowledgments
Preface

Prologue: Rocks and History

Part One: Alienation in the Land

1. Wilderness Under Fire
2. A Truly New World
3. Unfettered Accumulation

Part Two: Rationalization and its Discontents

4. A World of Commodities
5. King Climate in Dixie
6. The Great Food Fight
7. Extracting the New South
8. The Unforgiving West
9. Conservation Reconsidered
10. Death of the Organic City

Part Three: Consuming Nature

11. Moveable Feast
12. The Secret History of Meat
13. America in Black and Green
14. Throwaway Society
15. Shades of Green
16. Capitalism vs. The Earth

Notes
Bibliography
Index

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