Aldo Leopold's Odyssey: Rediscovering the Author of A Sand County Almanac.

AuthorMills, Stephanie
PositionBook review

Work Title: Aldo Leopold's Odyssey: Rediscovering the Author of A Sand County Almanac

Work Author(s): Julianne Lutz Newton

Island Press

30 b/w photographs, 496 pages, Hardcover $32.95


ISBN: 9781597260459

Reviewer: Stephanie Mills

There is a special class of book, the Book That Changes Lives. Published in 1948, Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac, bible of conservationists, ecologists, and nature lovers, is one such life-changer, a book as significant to America's land literature as Walden or Silent Spring. Yet this book was only the most conspicuous of Leopold's seminal contributions to the cause.

This superb new biography draws on the seemingly inexhaustible trove of writing that the prolific Leopold generated throughout his life. In this mighty auspicious first book, begun as a doctoral dissertation at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, where she is now a research associate, the author chronicles and interprets Leopold's twentieth-century intellectual odyssey.

Most readers will associate Leopold with wilderness---for during his years in the U.S. Forest Service he advocated the creation of national wilderness areas and later helped found the Wilderness Society---and with wildlife, for he pioneered the field of game management. His eventful career took him from forestry and range management through policy recommendation to participation in learned conferences that helped shape the science of ecology, and university professorship as well as countless other educational activities.

Aldo Leopold's Odyssey, however, is distinguished by its agrarian perspective. As a conservationist in his prime during the Dust Bowl era, when the soil's vulnerability to erosion was apparent to all...

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