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by David R. Foster

eBook Thoreau's Country: Journey through a Transformed Landscape download ISBN: 0674006682
Author: David R. Foster
Publisher: Harvard University Press; First Paperback Edition edition (December 21, 2001)
Language: English
Pages: 288
ePub: 1683 kb
Fb2: 1764 kb
Rating: 4.4
Other formats: lrf mbr docx txt
Category: History
Subcategory: Americas

Thoreau's Country book. Start by marking Thoreau's Country: Journey Through a Transformed Landscape as Want to Read: Want to Read savin. ant to Read.

Thoreau's Country book.

Thoreau's Country makes excellent use of quotations from Thoreau, but the remoteness of Thoreau's world, not .

Thoreau's Country makes excellent use of quotations from Thoreau, but the remoteness of Thoreau's world, not its proximity, is what he writes about. Douglas Fetherling Ottawa Citizen). In recent years we have seen a spate of books on Henry David Thoreau-his writings, his life, and the landscape in which he lived.

Home Browse Books Book details, Thoreau's Country: Journey .

Home Browse Books Book details, Thoreau's Country: Journey through a Transformed. Thoreau's Country: Journey through a Transformed Landscape. By David R. Foster, Henry David Thoreau. In 1977 David Foster took to the woods of New England to build a cabin with his own hands. Along with a few tools he brought a copy of the journals of Henry David Thoreau. Foster was struck by how different the forested landscape around him was from the one Thoreau described more than a century earlier.

Foster, David . 1954-; Thoreau, Henry David, 1817-1862.

Find many great new & used options and get the best deals for Thoreau's Country : Journey Through a Transformed Landscape by. .In 1977 David Foster took to the woods of New England to build a cabin with his own hands

In 1977 David Foster took to the woods of New England to build a cabin with his own hands.

Books & Magazines. Foster, David R. Foster was struck by how different the forested landscape around him was from the one Thoreau described more than a century earlier ISBN: 0674886453 (Thoreau, Henry . New England, American Authors, Landscape Changes, Natural History, Intellectual Life).

David R. Foster has assembled excerpts from Thoreau's journal into subject-related themes. The subjects Foster chooses are to illustrate several points-the main one being that the landscape Thoreau wrote about was in a state of change then and continues to change today. The surprise is that the wilderness was being done away with in Thoreau's day but is slowly returning to its more primitive condition since the old, g farms have been abandoned.

Foster, David R. Thoreau’s Country: Journey Through a Transformed Landscape. Twenty-Seven Square Miles: Landscape and History at Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1999. Fish and Wildlife Service, 2001.

About this book Extensive excerpts from the journals show the reader a Thoreau intimately .

In 1977 David Foster took to the woods of New England to build a cabin with his own hands. Extensive excerpts from the journals show the reader a Thoreau intimately acquainted with the ways in which he and his neighbours were changing and remaking the New England landscape. Foster adds the perspective of a modern forest ecologist and landscape historian, using the journals to trace themes of historical and social change. David R. Foster is Director of the Harvard Forest in Petersham, Massachusetts, and teaches ecology at Harvard University.

Journey Through a Transformed Landscape. To illustrate this idea, Foster takes New England as an example and uses extensive selections of Thoreau’s journals for their insightful perspective originating from a pivotal period

Journey Through a Transformed Landscape. To illustrate this idea, Foster takes New England as an example and uses extensive selections of Thoreau’s journals for their insightful perspective originating from a pivotal period. What Thoreau had to say about land use and the changes in its wake (such as the role of wildfire; the succession of trees in an abandoned field or one given over to pasturing; those features of the landscape that are now rare or nonexistent, such as field birds, coppices, meadows) makes fascinating reading.

In 1977 David Foster took to the woods of New England to build a cabin with his own hands. Along with a few tools he brought a copy of the journals of Henry David Thoreau. Foster was struck by how different the forested landscape around him was from the one Thoreau described more than a century earlier. The sights and sounds that Thoreau experienced on his daily walks through nineteenth-century Concord were those of rolling farmland, small woodlands, and farmers endlessly working the land. As Foster explored the New England landscape, he discovered ancient ruins of cellar holes, stone walls, and abandoned cartways--all remnants of this earlier land now largely covered by forest. How had Thoreau's open countryside, shaped by ax and plough, divided by fences and laneways, become a forested landscape?

Part ecological and historical puzzle, this book brings a vanished countryside to life in all its dimensions, human and natural, offering a rich record of human imprint upon the land. Extensive excerpts from the journals show us, through the vividly recorded details of daily life, a Thoreau intimately acquainted with the ways in which he and his neighbors were changing and remaking the New England landscape. Foster adds the perspective of a modern forest ecologist and landscape historian, using the journals to trace themes of historical and social change.

Thoreau's journals evoke not a wilderness retreat but the emotions and natural history that come from an old and humanized landscape. It is with a new understanding of the human role in shaping that landscape, Foster argues, that we can best prepare ourselves to appreciate and conserve it today.

From the journal:

"I have collected and split up now quite a pile of driftwood--rails and riders and stems and stumps of trees--perhaps half or three quarters of a tree...Each stick I deal with has a history, and I read it as I am handling it, and, last of all, I remember my adventures in getting it, while it is burning in the winter evening. That is the most interesting part of its history. It has made part of a fence or a bridge, perchance, or has been rooted out of a clearing and bears the marks of fire on it...Thus one half of the value of my wood is enjoyed before it is housed, and the other half is equal to the whole value of an equal quantity of the wood which I buy."

--October 20, 1855

Comments: (5)
Ceck
Helpful and insightful book.
Zulkigis
A detailed exploration of what Thoreau's journals show about the environmental practices of his Concord neighbors.
Whitehammer
This book is an analysis of Thoreau's observations of the New England forest and its changes. Early in his own career, Foster noted that the landscape described by Thoreau was not the landscape he encountered in his own New England experiences. Although Thoreau made a few journeys to the Maine wilderness, most of his writings were set in the environs of Concord, Massachusetts, an area that was well settled and extensively used for agriculture. Even the woods where Thoreau roamed were not wild, but mainly woodlots around Concord. In this book, Foster collates Thoreau's descriptions and observations of a variety of topics concerning daily life, types of woodlands, forest fauna, and ecology and uses these to provide a window into the world as Thoreau saw it, a world whose appearance is very different today.

Foster points out that the migration from New England farmlands was already happening in Thoreau's time. He argues that this migration wasn't necessarily to richer farmlands in the Midwest, but rather to manufacturing jobs in cities, and that transportation improvements such as the new railroads were the main impetus for the migration. The abandonment of farmlands was followed by a transformation of the landscape, from the cleared fields and heavily used woodlots of Thoreau's youth to the second growth forests punctuated with housing developments found today. Hence, what Thoreau saw and described in his journals is quite different from the scenes one would find today in the same locations.

Since Thoreau covered so many different topics in his journals, from spirituality to bird sightings to politics and friendship, it can be difficult to focus on Thoreau's detailed observations of the environment when reading his journals. Foster provides focus here by selecting several topics concerning land usage and forests, and then collating excerpts from Thoreau's journals relating to those topics. Concentrated in this manner and organized by topic, the excerpts demonstrate the astuteness of Thoreau's observations, and how valuable they can still be today for those interested in understanding the land and forests. Foster points out that in addition to coining the term "succession" as regards to forest change, Thoreau had also noted the unlikelihood of successfully growing a new pine forest where one had just been cut; had foresters of the early 20th century studied Thoreau's journals, they could have saved themselves decades of fruitless efforts in ill-conceived reforestation programs.

Foster argues that one of the most important lessons that can be drawn from Thoreau's observation is the inevitability of change. Thus, he notes "It must be recognized that if we set out with expectation of protecting and preserving any landscape as it is today, we are certain to be frustrated, for it will inevitably continue to change." Foster stresses the contradiction between Thoreau's modern image as a wilderness proponent, and the fact that "Thoreau lived in a landscape where the woods were relatively few and heavily cut, where fields and farms predominated, and where people were actively and incessantly working the entire countryside for all available natural resources." Yet "Thoreau was able to find wildness in a thousand scenes, each one shaped by human activity." Thus, Foster concludes "Wilderness and perhaps all possible experiences in life can be found inside oneself." And, "Every landscape has been touched by people, and we can use [Thoreau's] approach to appreciate, understand, and conserve our countryside today.
Authis
Henry David Thoreau was intrigued by the natural world around Concord, Massachusetts, and a few other favorite New England sites. And whenever he was interested in something or wanted to mull over something, he jotted his findings and his musings in his journals. David Foster has analyzed the journal entries and has compared all the descriptions of Thoreau's New England landscape of the 19th century with our present-day environment. The result is a marvelous insight into the complex intertwinings of natural succession and human land use over several centuries.

At first glance, you might think this book is just another mere compilation of quotes from Thoreau's journals. Nothing could be further from the truth! The chapters address a variety of aspects of the landscape. Each chapter begins with Foster's original explanation of the topic, and he backs up his interpretations with Thoreau's dated journal entries. We are fortunate to have these daily observations and to be able to see the pond of "Walden" fame as a microcosm of the 19th-century New England landscape. For while Thoreau wrote that he "went to the woods," the place he went to was a far cry from what we would now typically call "wooded." Foster says, "It is ironic to recognize today, when a high value is placed on nature, wilderness, and old-growth landscape, that America's premier nature writer and propounder of conservation and wilderness values lived at a time when the New England landscape was arguably the most tamed and most dominated by human activity in its entire history." (p. 222)

And while the writings of Thoreau are generally approached through American literature classes, we've been remiss in not giving more credence to the *science* in his observations. He had ideas about sustainability that were unusual and ahead of his time, and we are gradually coming to realize that his notes make perfect sense today. "More than half a century after Thoreau laid out the story of succession in painstaking detail in his journals, his lessons had to be relearned by the forest ecologists at Harvard." (p. 226) David Foster has the benefit of being able to draw on both knowledge bases: Thoreau's and his own, and he can easily compare the two in this volume. Indeed, this is exactly the kind of book that Thoreau would have read and would have been captivated by, for he was forming his own theories about the trends he found in Nature.

In this volume, Foster puts a new spin on the concept of conservation, preservation, and exactly what is "native" or "a natural state." Every inch of our world has been affected by some sort of human activity. "We are caught in a cultural dilemma in which we seek to maintain what we know and what is becoming rare even though it is largely the consequence of intense human activity." (p. 225)

The text is accompanied by the beautiful pen-and-ink illustrations of Abigail Rorer, who has done similiar work for other "Thoreau books." Foster's additional bibliographic essay provides documentation and the processes he went through to conduct his research. A list of sources plus a 10-page bibliography cap off this work.

While this is an easy enough book to read, Foster's narrations and conclusions take time to digest. They must be savored and absorbed. The reader needs time to stop and think about what he/she's just read. So while this is a worthwhile read, it isn't necessarily a quick one. Recommended for Thoreauvians (of course!), and should also be mandatory study for land managers throughout New England, the Northeast, and in other North American regions. Even lifelong New England residents will learn something new here.
Jare
A must read for people interested in the environment and how to interpret their surroundings. Beautifully written, thoughtful and intelligent. One of the best books I've read.