American canopy: trees, forests, and the making of a nation.

American canopy: trees, forests, and the making of a nation. Eric Rutkow.

New York: Scribner, 2013. Octavo, softcover.

This fascinating and groundbreaking work tells the remarkable story of the relationship between Americans and their trees across the entire span of our nation's history. The history of trees in America is no less remarkable than the history of the United States itself, from the majestic white pines of New England, which were coveted by the British Crown for use as masts in navy warships, to the orange groves of California, which lured settlers west. In fact, without the country's vast forests and the hundreds of tree species they contained, there would have been no ships, docks, railroads, stockyards, wagons, barrels, furniture, newspapers, rifles, or firewood. No shingled villages or whaling vessels in New England. No New York City, Miami, or Chicago. No Johnny Appleseed, Paul Bunyan, or Daniel Boone. No Allied planes in World War I, and no suburban sprawl in the middle of the twentieth century. As Eric Rutkow's brilliant, epic account shows, trees were essential to the early years of the republic and indivisible from the country's rise as both an empire and a civilization. Never before has anyone treated our country's trees and forests as the subject of a broad historical study, and the result is an accessible, informative, and thoroughly entertaining read. Audacious in its 400 year scope, authoritative in its detail, and elegant in its execution, this book is perfect for history buffs and nature lovers alike.

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