Pacific Visions: California Scientists and the Environment, 1850-1915

Michael E. Smith, Author
Michael E. Smith, Author Yale University Press $37.5 (243p) ISBN 978-0-300-03264-2
Reviewed on: 09/01/1988
Release date: 09/01/1988
Earth scientists went to California in the mid-19th century to map geological and topographical features and to identify plants and animals. Profoundly affected by the West, they developed a regional identity different from their colleagues in the East. As they observed the commercial exploitation of natural resources, they came to share a concern about society and the environment. Smith, professor at UC Davis, has written an engaging history of the scientific community that focuses on the public role of the scientist and the development of environmentalism. We meet Clarence King, John Muir, David Starr Jordan, Alice Eastwood, Joseph Grinell, Gifford Pinchot and other founding fathers of the far west science establishment. Smith chronicles the origins of the Sierra Club, Save-the-Redwoods League, the University of California and Stanford. He concludes by comparing the California of 1915 and that of today. Those interested in the background of conservation movements will find this book rewarding. Illustrations. (May)
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