Crimes against Nature: Squatters, Poachers, Thieves, and the Hidden History of American Conservation

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9780520239098: Crimes against Nature: Squatters, Poachers, Thieves, and the Hidden History of American Conservation

Crimes against Nature reveals the hidden history behind three of the nation's first parklands: the Adirondacks, Yellowstone, and the Grand Canyon. Focusing on conservation's impact on local inhabitants, Karl Jacoby traces the effect of criminalizing such traditional practices as hunting, fishing, foraging, and timber cutting in the newly created parks. Jacoby reassesses the nature of these "crimes" and provides a rich portrait of rural people and their relationship with the natural world in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

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From the Inside Flap:

"This insightful and lucid book combines social with environmental history, enriching both. . . . Timely, eloquent, and provocative, Crimes against Nature illuminates contemporary struggles, especially in the West, over our environment."—Alan Taylor, author of William Cooper's Town

"A compelling new interpretation of early conservation history in the United States. . . . Powerfully argued and beautifully written, this book could hardly be more relevant to the environmental challenges we face today."—William Cronon, author of Nature's Metropolis: Chicago and the Great West

"What a powerful and yet subtle tale of the fraught encounter between the conservationists' desire to 'engineer' wilderness with the property regime of the modern state and the unique, local, 'moral ecologies' of those who resisted! Rarely has this level of originality, close reasoning, and historical texture been brought into such harmony while preserving the whiff of lived experience."—James C. Scott, author of Seeing Like a State

About the Author:

Karl Jacoby is a professor in the Department of History and in the Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race at Columbia University. He is the author of Shadows at Dawn: An Apache Massacre and the Violence of History.

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