A riveting history of America's most beautiful natural resources, The Quiet World documents the heroic fight waged by the U.S. federal government from 1879 to 1960 to save wild Alaska—Mount McKinley, the Tongass and Chugach national forests, Gates of the Arctic, Glacier Bay, Lake Clark, and the Coastal Plain of the Beaufort Sea, among other treasured landscapes—from the extraction industries. Award-winning historian Douglas Brinkley traces the wilderness movement in Alaska, from John Muir to Theodore Roosevelt to Aldo Leopold to Dwight D. Eisenhower, with narrative verve. Basing his research on extensive new archival material, Brinkley shows how a colorful band of determined environmentalists created the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge just before John F. Kennedy became president.
Brinkley introduces a lively gallery of characters influential in preserving Alaska's wilderness resources: the indomitable U.S. Supreme Court justice William O. Douglas, who championed the Brooks Range; charming Ivy League explorer Charles Sheldon, who led the campaign to create Denali National Park; intrepid Bob Marshall, who cofounded The Wilderness Society; hermit illustrator Rockwell Kent, who lived in isolation on Fox Island like a modern Thoreau; nature photographer Ansel Adams, whose image Mount McKinley and Wonder Lake set off a tsunami of public interest in America's tallest peak; and U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist Rachel Carson, who promoted proper ocean stewardship; among many more.
Wildlife fervently comes to life in The Quiet World: Brinkley tells incredible stories about the sea otters in the Aleutians, moose in the Kenai Peninsula, and birdlife across the Yukon Delta expanse while exploring the devastating effects that reckless overfishing, seal slaughter, and aerial wolf hunting have wrought on Alaska's once-abundant fauna. While taking into account Exxon Valdez–like oil spills, The Quiet World mainly celebrates how the U.S. government has preserved many of Alaska's great wonders for future generations to enjoy.
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In this fascinating follow-up to his New York Times bestseller Wilderness Warrior, acclaimed historian Douglas Brinkley offers a riveting, expansive look at the past and present battle to preserve Alaska’s wilderness. Brinkley explores the colorful diversity of Alaska’s wildlife, arrays the forces that have wreaked havoc on its primeval arctic refuge—from Klondike Gold Rush prospectors to environmental disasters like the Exxon-Valdez oil spill—and documents environmental heroes from Theodore Roosevelt to Dwight Eisenhower and beyond. Not merely a record of Alaska’s past, Quiet World is a compelling call-to-arms for sustainability, conservationism, and conscientious environmental stewardship—a warning that the land once called Seward’s Folly may go down in history as America’s Greatest Mistake.
The Quiet World is an epic history of the grassroots activists and artists who, with the U.S. federal government, saved vast reaches of wild Alaska from 1879 to 1960. Beginning with naturalist John Muir, who explored the towering glaciers of the Inside Passage, and ending with President Dwight Eisenhower, who created the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), Brinkley showcases how extraction industry bigwigs were outfoxed by a colorful gallery of “wilderness believers,” including Bull Moose presidential candidate Theodore Roosevelt, indomitable U.S. Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas, photographer Ansel Adams, U.S. Fish and Wildlife biologist Rachel Carson, and many others. Brinkley also details conservationists’ inspiration to protect Alaska’s natural resources for future generations and tells incredible stories of its wildlife.
The Quiet World is an ode to the great Alaskan outdoors, and as we grapple with the perils of global warming and oil spills, it is essential reading.
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