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Encounters With the Archdruid

ISBN: 9780374514310 | 0374514313
Edition: Revised
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Pub. Date: 10/1/1977

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The narratives in this book are of journeys made in three wildernesses - on a coastal island, in a Western mountain range, and on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. The four men portrayed here have different relationships to their environment, and they encounter each other on mountain trails, in forests and rapids, sometimes with reserve, sometimes with friendliness, sometimes fighting hard across a philosophical divide. John McPheeis the author of more than 25 books, includingAnnals of the Former World, for which he received the Pulitzer Prize in Nonfiction in 1999. He has been a staff writer atThe New Yorkersince 1965 and lives in Princeton, New Jersey. McPhee'sEncounters with the ArchdruidandThe Curve of Binding Energywere both nominated for National Book Awards in the category of science. The narratives in this book are of journeys made in three wildernesseson a coastal island, in a Western mountain range, and on the Colorado River in the Grand Canyon. Four men are involved: Charles Park, a mineral engineer who believes that our economic well-being rests on finding metals and extracting them from the earth wherever they are found; Charles Fraser, a resort developer who regards all conservationists as druids ("religious figures who sacrifice people and worship trees"); Floyd Dominy, a builder of gigantic dams, who grew up in dry Western country and deeply believes in the impoundment of water; and David Brower, the most militant conservationist in the world. In turn, Park, Fraser, and Dominy encounter Brower, whether in rapids, in forests, on mountain trails, on a raft, in a jeep, or on footnow reserved, now friendly, now fighting hard across a philosophical divide. "The importance of this lively book in the unmanageably proliferating literature on ecology is in its confrontation between remarkable men who hold great differences of opinion with integrity on all sides. Mr. McPhee, not pushing, just presenting, portrays them all in the round, showing them clashing in concrete situations where factors are complex and decisions hard. Readers must choose sides."The Wall Street Journal "For those who want to understand the issues of the environmental crisis,Encounters with the Archdruidis a superb book. McPhee reveals more nuances of the value revolution that dominates the new age of ecology than most writers could pack into a volume twice as long. I marvel at his capacity to listen intently and extract the essence of a man and his philosophy in the fewest possible words."Stewart Udall "Brower and his antagonists are revealed as subtly and convincingly as they would be in a good novel."Time

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