Edgar Wayburn may be the least-known yet most successful defender of the American landscape. A tenacious and tireless leader of the Sierra Club since the 1940s, he had a central role in the creation of Redwoods National Park and the Golden Gate National Recreation Area, and in the passage of the Alaska National Interest Lands Act. For his visionary achievements, he was honored with the Albert Schweitzer Prize for Humanitarianism in 1995 and the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1999.
Not a conventional autobiography, Your Land and Mine focuses on Wayburn’s key conservation campaigns, some of the most crucial of the 20th century, and the fascinating cast of characters that populated them. His accounts of hard-fought battles are full of telling details and lively portraits of legislators such as Senator Henry Scoop” Jackson and Representative Phil Burton; land officials such as JFK’s Interior Secretary Stewart Udall; and countless other personalities in the ongoing drama of preserving our nation’s natural heritage.
Illustrated with rare photographs from Wayburn’s personal collection, Your Land and Mine is required reading for anyone interested in the growth of America’s conservation movement. It is also an engaging portrait of an important and inspiring American life.
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Edgar Wayburn, an honors graduate of the University of Georgia and Harvard Medical School, pursued an active career in medicine over a fifty-year span, both in the private practice of internal medicine and as a teacher at the University of California Medical School and Stanford University. His second vocation as conservation activist brought him to the presidency of the Sierra Club for five years in the 1960s, and he served on the Sierra Club board of directors almost continuously from 1957 to 1993. In 1999, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Bill Clinton. Ninety-seven years young as this memoir appears, Dr. Wayburn is still helping to safeguard Alaska's wildlands against renewed assaults. He lives in San Francisco.From Publishers Weekly:
Even among environmentalists, Wayburn isn’t well known, but after reading this autobiography, those who haven’t heard of him will wonder why not. He has done at least as much for the wild places of America as more media-hungry green heroes, and he has achieved great things through hard work and boring meetings. This chronicle portrays both, as Wayburn tells the story of his personal development as a global conservationist. Along the way, he describes his part in transforming the Sierra Club from an exclusive backpacking clique to a hard-lobbying environmental group. Readers who have spent time in crowded California parks will feel pangs of longing for the lonely peaks and valleys of Wayburn’s early Sierra Club years. He describes wilderness outings spanning six decades and several continents. But even in the face of ever-increasing population, weakened environmental regulations and widespread pollution, Wayburn finds joy and peace outdoors. Nothing but true love could ever have persuaded him to spend so many thankless hours in Washington, talking to recalcitrant politicians and unrepentant industrialists until they gave way for the greater good. While the book will appeal strongly to eco-professionals and activists, general readers might balk at the extraordinary detail with which Wayburn describes the bureaucratic process of creating new national parks and strengthening wilderness protections. This is the real heart of conservation work, but it just isn’t as much fun to read about as sleeping under the stars and trying to light fires in the rain. 32 b&w photos.
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