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Download The Quiet World: Saving Alaska’s Wilderness Kingdom, 1879–1960 Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Quiet World: Saving Alaska’s Wilderness Kingdom, 1879–1960, by Douglas Brinkley Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (49 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Douglas Brinkley Narrator: Andrew Garman Publisher: HarperCollins Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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A riveting history of America’s most beautiful natural resources, The Quiet World documents the heroic fight waged by the United States federal government from 1879 to 1960 to save wild Alaska—Mount McKinley, the Tongass and Chugach national forests, Gates of the Arctic, Glacier Bay, Lake Clark, and the Coastal Plain of the Beaufort Sea, among other treasured landscapes—from the extraction industries. Award-winning historian Douglas Brinkley traces the wilderness movement in Alaska, from John Muir to Theodore Roosevelt to Aldo Leopold to Dwight D. Eisenhower, with narrative verve. Basing his research on extensive new archival material, Brinkley shows how a colorful band of determined environmentalists created the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge just before John F. Kennedy became president.

Brinkley introduces a lively gallery of characters influential in preserving Alaska’s wilderness resources: the indomitable US Supreme Court justice William O. Douglas, who championed the Brooks Range; charming Ivy League explorer Charles Sheldon, who led the campaign to create Denali National Park; intrepid Bob Marshall, who cofounded the Wilderness Society; hermit illustrator Rockwell Kent, who lived in isolation on Fox Island like a modern Thoreau; nature photographer Ansel Adams, whose image Mount McKinley and Wonder Lake set off a tsunami of public interest in America’s tallest peak; and US Fish and Wildlife biologist Rachel Carson, who promoted proper ocean stewardship; among many more.

Wildlife fervently comes to life in The Quiet World: Brinkley tells incredible stories about the sea otters in the Aleutians, moose in the Kenai Peninsula, and bird life across the Yukon Delta expanse while exploring the devastating effects that reckless overfishing, seal slaughter, and aerial wolf hunting have wrought on Alaska’s once-abundant fauna. While taking into account Exxon Valdez–like oil spills, The Quiet World mainly celebrates how the United States government has preserved many of Alaska’s great wonders for future generations to enjoy.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Brinkley carves well-known figures with the tools of a skilled biographer...This volume is required reading for anyone even mildly interested in the antecedents to US environmental policy in the twenty-first century.” 

    Los Angeles Times

  • “An important book.”

    Houston Chronicle

  • “A very readable history of the preservationist movement across the nation.”

    Seattle Times

  • “A richly detailed, passionate and partisan account...In lush prose, [Brinkley] captures Alaska’s pristine beauty.”

    Minneapolis Star Tribune

  • “In Brinkley’s hands, the still-raging battle to save Alaska’s wild character is riveting.”

    Christian Science Monitor

  • “Garman brings alive the voices of those who sought to protect Alaska wildness, including Theodore Roosevelt’s urgings to President Howard Taft to bring corporate “power to heel” and John Muir’s religious overtones when speaking of his beloved Glacier Bay...[An] engaging production.” 


  • “Brinkley’s Alaskan history and pantheon of valiant conservationists is boldly original, enlightening, enthralling, and profoundly moving.

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “Brinkley delivers a vigorous, thorough survey of Alaska’s natural splendors, from John Muir’s first treks into Glacier Bay in 1879 to President Eisenhower’s establishment of the Arctic National Wildlife Range in 1960...[He] skillfully conveys how the natural beauty of Alaska worked its magic.”

    Kirkus Reviews

  • Winner of the AudioFile Earphones Award

Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Peter | 10/24/2013

    " Not only a great history of conservation in Alaska, but also a good recounting of conservation nationwide. Great profile of important people in the movement along the way. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Maureen Flatley | 10/23/2013

    " Astonishing read.....highly, highly recommend. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Lynne | 12/23/2012

    " Dry but informative. I enjoyed the section about William O. Douglas's role in protecting the environment. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 by Judy | 9/22/2011

    " I truly enjoyed The Quiet World. Detailed stories about the great conservationists of our recent past. "

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