David Brower was one of the pioneers of the environmental movement, and this collection of 19 interviews—introduced and transcribed by his oldest son, nature writer Kenneth Brower (The Starship and the Canoe)—is a monumental exercise in remembrance by some of the world's conservation luminaries. Paul Ehrlich recalls developing the first theories of overpopulation, Jerry Mander describes some of the Sierra Club's iconic newspaper ads, and reporter Harold Gilliam remembers the drive to save Point Reyes. Several contributors affectionately refer to what Brower fans knew as The Sermon: an "ever-changing palimpsest of a speech…because environmentalism was a religion." All the testimony eventually accumulates into a complicated portrait of the man as "fearless," "stubborn," "a crusader," and "a genius." ("He drove me nuts sometimes," says Patricia Sarr.) But despite this insight, the book reads less like a biography of Brower than a sweeping, occasionally convoluted, pleasantly rambling conversation about environmentalism and its various germinations: national parks, nuclear power, whales, and rainforests, for starters. In composite, it certainly shows the breadth of Brower's influence. Says Paul Hawken, "No single person created more ways and means for people to become active and effective with respect to the environment than David Brower. That is sure." Photos. (May)
Reviewed on: 06/11/2012 Release date: 05/01/2012 Genre: Nonfiction
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