Inherit the Holy Mountain: Religion and the Rise of American Environmentalism

Mark Stoll. Oxford Univ., $39.95 (408p) ISBN 978-0-19-023086-9
In this impressively detailed and thoroughly researched work, Stoll, a professor of history at Texas Tech University, provides a narrative history of the relationship between American environmentalism and religious denominations, showing diversity as well as coherent trends in theology-driven thinking about nature. He gives readers a comprehensive grounding in the basics of environmental and religious movements as they developed in America, overlaying their histories to show a tangled web of mutual influence. For example, he notes that the leaders of the wilderness preservation movement had a greater variety of religious backgrounds and motivations than most other environmental movements. Stoll casts a wide net, insightfully treating works of art such as early landscape paintings and songs like “America the Beautiful” as significant expressions of a philosophy about nature. Thoughtful and fascinating, with carefully crafted prose and clearly organized evidence, this book provides a new lens on the history of both religion and the environment in America, showcasing not only the facts but also the motivations while providing new insights into the past and future. (June)
Reviewed on: 04/13/2015
Release date: 05/01/2015
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