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Fw: miller review

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  • John A. Gable
    ... From: John A. Gable To: mlabbot@hotmail.com ; normparsons@mymailstation.com ; throosev@lehman.com ; gilbane@hotmail.com ; fippavlon@earthlink.com ;
    Message 1 of 1 , Jun 20, 2002
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Thursday, June 20, 2002 1:18 PM
      Subject: Fw: miller review

      This review was put together for the TRA Journal, which is now at the printer. This is an important book, friends.
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Sunday, June 16, 2002 12:44 PM
      Subject: Fw: miller review

      Char Miller will be speaking at our conference in Buffalo. He is a brilliant historian, even though he's not well-known as yet.
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Wednesday, June 12, 2002 5:18 PM
      Subject: miller review

                                  GIFFORD  PINCHOT  AND ENVIRONMENTALISM
      Char Miller, Gifford Pinchot and the making of Modern Environmentalism.  Washington: Island Press, Shearwater Books,  2001;  458 pp., illustrated, hard cover.
            One of the most important aspects of the history of environmentalism or conservation in the United States is the bitter divisiveness within the movement.  Environmentalists are not one big happy family. The main and most famous division within the environmental movement has been between the followers of John Muir, founder of the Sierra Club and patron saint of the preservationists, and those of Gifford Pinchot, the first chief of the US Forest Service, prophet of the so-called "use-conservationists."  Gifford Pinchot was of course a close friend of TR, served with distinction in the Roosevelt administration , and later followed TR into the Bull Moose Party.  But TR was also a friend and admirer of John Muir.  TR's admiration and affection for both Muir and Pinchot seems to confuse many historians. TR was in fact both a preservationist and a "use-conservationist." Roosevelt thought that preservation was appropriate in some cases, such as protecting the Grand Canyon and Muir Woods, and that planned use and development of natural resources was called for elsewhere, as seen in Arizona's Theodore Roosevelt Dam and in the forest reserves.
            An excellent study of environmentalism/conservation as the movement developed historically is Char Miller's new biography of Gifford Pinchot, Gifford Pinchot and the Making of Modern Environmentalism, which has already won two awards, Best Biography from the Independent Book Publishers , and Gold Award for biography in the ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year competition. Those of us who have talked with Char Miller, who have heard him lecture, or read what he has written know that he always has something new and original to say, and that what he has to say is worth hearing and pondering. Michael Beschloss syas:  "Char Miller has brought us an absorbing, well-researched, and illuminating life of an American leader who now receives the full attention he deserves."   This book follows Pinchot from his youth as the heir of a considerable fortune, his studies of forestry in Europe, his work at Biltmore to his years as head of the US Forest Service, his dramatic quarrel with President William Howard Taft (Taft fired Pinchot from the federal government), his Bull Moose days though to his two terms as Governor of Pennsylvania and his final years as free-lance progressive and conservationist.Writes Miller:  "Born in August 1865, shortly after the close of the nation's bloodiest war, he died in October 1946, a little more than a year after the blinding flash that marked the end of World War II and the birth of the Atomic Age. Over this span, he worked for, offered counsel to, and battled with every president from Grover Cleveland to Harry S. Truman. As modern America emerged,  Pinchot was among its creators."
            Did you know that as a logical sequel to the first national governors conference, called to consider conservation in 1908, the North American Conservation  Conference of February 1909,  TR and Pinchot planned, and sent out invitations for, an international conservation conference ?  The sequence was meant to be nation to continent to world.
      But President Taft canceled the conference. Gifford Pinchot continued to promote the idea of a global conference, and Harry Truman decided to hold such a gathering through the United Nations. When the UN conference met in 1949, Gifford Pinchot was dead, but his widow,  Cordelia Bryce Pinchot was an official delegate.   Read all about these things in Miller's new book. We need books with the sweep and scope of this book.
            Char Miller is professor and chair of the history department at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas. He received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins, and has been on the Trinity faculty since 1981. His previous works include Gifford Pinchot: The Evolution of an American Conservationist  (1992).
                                                                                  John Allen Gable
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