Natural Rivals: John Muir, Gifford Pinchot, and the Creation of America's Public Lands

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Product Details

Thorndike Press Large Print
Publish Date
5.6 X 8.6 X 1.1 inches | 0.02 pounds
Library Binding

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About the Author

John Clayton is the author of The Cowboy Girl which was a finalist for a High Plains Book Award, as well as Small Town Bound, Stories from Montana's Enduring Frontier, and Images of America: Red Lodge. Clayton writes for The Montana Quarterly and his book Wonderlandscape: Yellowstone National Park and the Evolution of an American Cultural Icon, also published by Pegasus Books, was an Honored Book at the Montana Book Award. He lives in Bozeman, Montana.


A timely book. Clayton looks at the issue of public lands through the lens of these two, seemingly like-minded men. The book is populated with a number of fascinating figures. A substantial contribution to understanding our environmental past.
Naturalist John Muir and U.S. Forest Service founder Gifford Pinchot, usually portrayed as rigid symbols of warring preservation vs. conservation approaches to public-land management, in fact had a nuanced rivalry with hopeful ramifications for modern environmental issues, argues journalist Clayton in this hybrid biography-history.
A crisply written double biography. Clayton paints vivid portraits of each, with Muir as the bedraggled backwoods explorer whose storytelling could charm the rich and powerful into supporting his causes, while practically minded New Yorker Pinchot peddled science and profitability to win political backing for his schemes. What makes their stories especially compelling is their preservation versus conservation debate, which still rages.
Mr. Clayton writes with clarity, passion, and insight. This story is uneasily relevant to today...and may even provide a template for addressing climate change. We need our own John Muir and Gifford Pinchot.-- (08/02/2019)