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Download Engineering Eden: The True Story of a Violent Death, a Trial, and the Fight over Controlling Nature Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample Engineering Eden: The True Story of a Violent Death, a Trial, and the Fight over Controlling Nature, by Jordan Fisher  Smith Click for printable size audiobook cover
0 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 50 out of 5 0.00 (0 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Jordan Fisher Smith Narrator: Traber Burns Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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The fascinating story of the century-long attempt to control nature in the American wilderness as told through the prism of a tragic death at Yellowstone

When twenty-five-year-old Harry Walker was killed by a bear in Yellowstone Park in 1972, the civil trial prompted by his death became a proxy for bigger questions about American wilderness management that had been boiling for a century. At immediate issue was whether the Park Service should have done more to keep bears away from humans, but what was revealed as the trial unfolded was just how fruitless our efforts to regulate nature in the parks had always been. The proceedings drew to the witness stand some of the most important figures in twentieth-century wilderness management, including the eminent zoologist A. Starker Leopold, who had produced a landmark conservationist document in the 1950s, and all-American twin researchers John and Frank Craighead, who ran groundbreaking bear studies at Yellowstone. Their testimonies would help decide whether the government owed the Walker family restitution for Harry’s death, but it would also illuminate decades of patchwork efforts to preserve an idea of nature that had never existed in the first place.

In this remarkable excavation of American environmental history, nature writer and former park ranger Jordan Fisher Smith uses the story of one man’s tragic death to tell the larger narrative of the futile, sometimes fatal, attempts to remake wilderness in the name of preserving it. Moving across time and between Yellowstone, Yosemite, and Glacier National Parks, Engineering Eden shows how efforts at wilderness management have always been undone by one fundamental problem—that the idea of what is “natural” dissolves as soon as we begin to examine it, leaving us with little framework to say what wilderness should look like and which human interventions are acceptable in trying to preserve it.

In the tradition of John McPhee’s The Control of Nature and Alan Burdick’s Out of Eden, Jordan Fisher Smith has produced a powerful work of popular science and environmental history, grappling with critical issues that we have even now yet to resolve.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “What is ‘nature’? In a narrative delivered with elegance and vigor, Jordan Fisher Smith shows that our answers to this question have life-and-death consequences, for humans and for the ecosystems in which we live.”

    David George Haskell, Pulitzer Prize finalist

  • “A probing look at efforts to manage the ‘wild’ in our fading wilderness—and at the trouble resulting when our guesses are wrong. Engineering Eden is especially timely as we consider our responsibilities to nature on this fast-warming planet.”

    Tom Kizzia, New York Times bestselling author

  • “This is a big, ambitious book about a seemingly small, if horrific event—a grizzly devouring a young man. And Jordan Fisher Smith has succeeded in his ambition. He produced a wonderful book, ‘wonderful’ not only because of the quality of the writing, but because the book is filled with wondering; Smith uses that horror as a narrative focal point to explore science, policy making, bureaucracy, ego, even the law, and when he explores something he goes deep.”

    John M. Barry, New York Times bestselling author

  • “A dramatic, eye-opening chronicle of the struggle to preserve wilderness while making it accessible to the public…A galvanizing storyteller fluent in the conflict between environmental science and politics, Smith brings every player into sharp and indelible focus as he illuminates the urgent issues national parks grapple with…Smith spotlights an overlooked watershed moment in our troubled relationship with the wild.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Smith…brings into sharp focus the backgrounds and personalities of the individuals involved in this multifaceted story…and skillfully interweaves their various outlooks. This meticulously investigated history of Yellowstone and its wildlife management problems should appeal to fans of Jack Olsen’s classic Night of the Grizzlies, as well as to readers interested in the broader issue of how much humans should intervene in nature in order to preserve it.”

    Library Journal

  • “Smith has pulled off an amazing feat: he’s made wildlife management urgent and engrossing, writing about it with clarity, depth, and a storyteller’s pacing. The issues are timeless. On the centennial of the National Park Service, this book is an outstanding introduction to ecological decision-making.”

    Shelf Awareness

  • “Provocative…Smith, who understands that nature is ‘a web of complex relations,’ tells this complicated story clearly and well. Excellent reading for students of park policy, wildlife management, and other resource issues.”

    Kirkus Reviews

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