Print this page Share

A Companion to American Environmental History

ISBN: 978-1-4051-5665-3
696 pages
May 2010, Wiley-Blackwell
A Companion to American Environmental History (1405156651) cover image


A Companion to American Environmental History gathers together a comprehensive collection of over 30 essays that examine the evolving and diverse field of American environmental history.
  • Provides a complete historiography of American environmental history
  • Brings the field up-to-date to reflect the latest trends and encourages new directions for the field
  • Includes the work of path-breaking environmental historians, from the founders of the field, to  contributions from innovative young scholars
  • Takes stock of the discipline through five topically themed parts, with essays ranging from American Indian Environmental Relations to Cities and Suburbs
See More

Table of Contents

Notes on Contributors viii

Introduction xiii

Part I The Elements of Environmental History 1

1 Paths Toward Home: Landmarks of the Field in Environmental History 3
Louis S. Warren

2 Air 33
Nancy Langston

3 The Living Earth: History, Darwinian Evolution, and the Grasslands 51
Donald Worster

4 Fire 69
Stephen J. Pyne

5 Water 92
Rebecca Solnit

Part II Nature and the Construction of Society and Identity 97

6 Race and US Environmental History 99
Colin Fisher

7 Gender 116
Susan R. Schrepfer and Douglas Cazaux Sackman

8 Class 146
Chad Montrie

9 Body Counts: Tracking the Human Body Through Environmental History 163
Neil M. Maher

Part III The Nature of American Culture 181

10 From Wilderness to Hybrid Landscapes: The Cultural Turn in Environmental History 183
Richard White

11 American Indian Environmental Relations 191
David Rich Lewis

12 Cultures of Nature: To ca. 1810 214
Matthew Dennis

13 Cultures of Nature: Nineteenth Century 246
Aaron Sachs

14 Cultures of Nature: Twentieth Century 266
Finis Dunaway

15 From Wilderness Prophets to Tool Freaks: Post-World War II Environmentalism 285
Andrew Kirk

16 The Black Box in the Garden: Consumers and the Environment 304
Tom McCarthy

Part IV Contact Zones: Americans Conjoining the Natural World 325

17 Flora 327
Frieda Knobloch

18 Fauna: A Prospectus for Evolutionary History 345
Edmund Russell

19 Water Development: The Plot Thickens 375
Patty Limerick

20 Rich Crevices of Inquiry: Mining and Environmental History 394
Katherine G. Morrissey

21 Who Cares About Forests? How Forest History Matters 410
Ellen Stroud

22 Cultivating an Agro-Environmental History 425
Sara M. Gregg

23 Oceans: Fusing the History of Science and Technology with Environmental History 442
Helen M. Rozwadowski

24 Cities and Suburbs 462
Chris Sellers

25 Energy and Transportation 482
Brian Black

26 The Global Ecological Reach of the United States: Exporting Capital and Importing Commodities 505
Richard P. Tucker

27 Food 529
Douglas Cazaux Sackman

Part V Outside of the Grid: Place, Borders, and Scale 551

28 Blinded by History: The Geographic Dimension of Environment and Society 553
Richard Walker and Sarah Thomas

29 The Northeastern Pacifi c Basin: An Environmental Approach to Seascapes and Littoral Places 579
David Igler

30 Earthlings: Evolution and Place in Environmental History 595
Dan Flores

31 "Most Fruitful Results": Transborder Approaches to Canadian-American Environmental History 615
Ted Binnema

32 Seeing Beyond Our Borders: US and Non-US Historiographies 635
Paul Sutter

Index 653

See More

Author Information

Douglas Cazaux Sackman is Professor of History at the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, Washington. His publications include Wild Men: Ishi and Kroeber in the Wilderness of Modern America (2010) and Orange Empire: California and the Fruits of Eden (2005), winner of the 2006 Martin Ridge Award. His next book, Pacific Passages, will explore transpacific exchanges of culture and nature, focusing on the traffic in otters, whales, and trees.
See More


“A Companion to American Environmental History gathers together a comprehensive collection of over 30 essays that examine the evolving and diverse field of American environmental history.”  (Native American Encyclopedia, 8 January 2014)

“No short review can do justice to the richness and variety of the essays contained in this lengthy volume, which will prove useful to advanced undergraduates, graduate students, and seasoned scholars alike.”  (Journal of the History of Biology, 2011)

"The volume admirably covers material and cultural approaches to environmental history... I was impressed with the thoroughness and clarity of almost all the entries. (Environmental History, 1January 2012)

 The American Society for Environmental History was organized in 1976, and this companion volume celebrates its members' achievements during the past one-third century. The book presents diverse perspectives and topics in 32chapters, including "Fire," "Air," "Race and US Environmental History," "Class," "Gender," "Flora," "Fauna," "Cities and Suburbs," "Who Cares about Forests?" and "Oceans." No individual chapter focuses on pollution or environmental degradation, though these topics appear in several contexts. Many chapters offer revisionist history, bypassing traditional environmental heroes or emphasis on wilderness, conservation, and preservation. Instead, they discuss Indians, herdsmen, lumbermen, and farmers. Indians, not invariably stewards of the environment, became part of European trade networks and were favorably impacted by the introduction of horses. Dams improved economies but also degraded fisheries. All but one chapter have excellent bibliographies. Most bibliographies emphasize books, and the Society's journal, Environmental History, does not receive any special attention. Anyone who wishes to study or research a topic in American environmental history can quickly learn from one or more chapters what has already been written on the subject and how environmental historians evaluate that particular literature. Although there are no illustrations, diagrams, or maps, this volume is a critical acquisition for all academic library reference collections." (CHOICE, December 2010)

“A model compilation . . . .  It not only takes the analytical measure of the field of American environmental history, it forthrightly blazes trails for the field in the future.”
William Deverell, Director, Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West

"A fantastic guide to environmental history that will change how you think about the past."
Ted Steinberg, Case Western Reserve University

“This superb volume, a collaboration of established scholars and rising stars, is now the essential guide to the expanding field of environmental history.”
Elliott West, University of Arkansas

See More

Buy Both and Save 25%!


A Companion to American Environmental History (US $239.95)

-and- A Companion to George Washington (US $219.95)

Total List Price: US $459.90
Discounted Price: US $344.92 (Save: US $114.98)

Buy Both
Cannot be combined with any other offers. Learn more.

Related Titles

Back to Top