Book Reviews True Gardens of the Gods: Californian-Australian Environmental Reform, 18601930. By ian tyrrell. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1999. Pp. xi + 313. $48.00 (cloth). Following the lead of Samuel P. Hays, American historians typically assign the Gilded Age and Progressive era fathers of modern environmentalism to either one of two competing camps: the wilderness preservationists, led by Sierra Club founder John Muir, or the utilitarian conservationists, represented by early professional resource managers like Theodore Roosevelt's chief forester Gifford Pinchot. This neat dichotomy makes for clear and dramatic narrative that climaxes with the momentous clash over Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park, an epic struggle that revealed the initial predominance of the utilitarian school and ended Muir's great career with a tragic defeat. Now, in a well-researched, engaging comparative study, Australian Ian Tyrrell argues that, like most convenient dualisms, the utilitarian / preservationist opposition is overly simplistic and therefore misleading. Instead Tyrrell maintains that "[n]either the idea of wilderness nor the modern idea of conservation for rational economic use encompasses the full range of nineteenth-century environmental thought. . . ." Between the preservationists and the utilitarians, Tyrrell posits the advocates of a third current of early
Journal of World History – University of Hawai'I Press
Published: Mar 1, 2001
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