Nature Fakers: Wildlife, Science, and Sentiment

Ralph H. Lutts, Author
Ralph H. Lutts, Author Fulcrum Group $22.95 (280p) ISBN 978-1-55591-054-9
Reviewed on: 03/31/1990
Release date: 04/01/1990
This is the story of a literary controversy from the early years of the century, when nature study and animal stories were in vogue. The popular books of Ernest Thomson Seton, Charles G. D. Roberts and William J. Long had probably a greater impact on the public's perception of wildlife than that of more scientific writers. Naturalist John Burroughs accused certain authors, principally Long, of taking liberties with facts to suit their sentimental, overdramatized tales of life in the wild. President Theodore Roosevelt joined the fray on Burroughs's side, effectively silencing Long, a minister and scholar, whose presentations of biology and natural history, according to Lutts, director of an Audobon Society museum in Massachusetts, were biased by his expectations of what he would find on his field trips. In a book of interest primarily to specialists, the author notes that drawing the line between observation and interpretation is an ever-present problem. Illustrations. (May)
The Best Books, Emailed Every Week
Tip Sheet!