March 16, 2018

New PDF release: An unsettled country: changing landscapes of the American

By Donald Worster

ISBN-10: 0826314821

ISBN-13: 9780826314826

The West is still unsettled--by cultural behavior, highbrow debate, and ecological stipulations. In those 4 essays, that have been offered because the 1992 Calvin P. Horn Lectures in Western heritage and tradition, Donald Worster incisively discusses the function of the common atmosphere within the making of the West--and frequently in its unmaking and remaking. His topics are 4 associated themes: the legacy of John Wesley Powell to western source administration; the domination of water coverage through nation, technological know-how, and capital because the mid-nineteenth century; the destiny of flora and fauna within the push to settle the West; and the specter of worldwide warming to the good Plains.

The panorama of the West has for too lengthy been a drawback to be conquer. yet in Worster's view it truly is in seeing how humans have handled and, all too frequently, mishandled nature that provides urgency to higher figuring out the region's ecological historical past. Worster argues for a brand new courting of western humans to their atmosphere in line with merits to a group instead of on earnings to individuals.

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Additional info for An unsettled country: changing landscapes of the American West

Sample text

People invent agriculture; that is, they choose some plants to eat, cultivating and breeding them, while ignoring others. That is so of all the major agricultural systems on which humans depend; whether they involve wheat, sugar, corn, or rice, always they are cultural constructions. But since food is plant and animal life, it is also part of nature. Food must satisfy the body's physiological needs. The West, the isohyetals suggested, could not fill those needs over much of its extent, because it did not have enough moisture.

Scientists in biology and ecology also came to study such topics as the migration patterns of whooping cranes or the salt-coping mechanisms of the region's vegetation. The pursuit of scientific knowledge about the West and its organization into general ideas were one of Powell's most important legacies, and as they went forward the region took on deeper and deeper meaning. The scientific exploration of this new region of the West did not begin or end with Powell, but he may have been its most important exponent.

Unless Americans suddenly learned how to domesticate the native vegetation of the new regionsagebrush, Mormon tea, shadscale, cactusand to eat their products, they were going to have to adapt. Despite thousands of years of residence, and much intelligent trial-and-error experimentation, Indians had still not turned those native western plants into major foodstuffs, but had continued to rely on maize, pumpkins, and beans introduced from other parts of the hemisphere. Even then they found they could cultivate them in only a few favorable locations.

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An unsettled country: changing landscapes of the American West by Donald Worster

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