Grinnell : America's environmental pioneer and his restless drive to save the West

by Taliaferro, John, 1952-

Format: Print Book 2019
Availability: Available at 5 Libraries 5 of 5 copies
Available (5)
Location Collection Call #
Braddock Carnegie Library Non Fiction 92 GRI
Location  Braddock Carnegie Library
Collection  Non Fiction
Call Number  92 GRI
CLP - Allegheny Regional Non-Fiction Collection QH31.G74 T35 2019
Location  CLP - Allegheny Regional
Collection  Non-Fiction Collection
Call Number  QH31.G74 T35 2019
CLP - Main Library Second Floor - Non-fiction QH31.G74 T35 2019
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Second Floor - Non-fiction
Call Number  QH31.G74 T35 2019
CLP - Squirrel Hill Non-Fiction Collection QH31.G74 T35 2019
Location  CLP - Squirrel Hill
Collection  Non-Fiction Collection
Call Number  QH31.G74 T35 2019
Mt. Lebanon Public Library Non-Fiction 508.78 Tal
Location  Mt. Lebanon Public Library
Collection  Non-Fiction
Call Number  508.78 Tal
Winner * National Outdoor Book Award (History/Biography)
Longlisted * PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography

Before Rachel Carson, there was George Bird Grinnell--the man whose prophetic vision did nothing less than launch American conservation.

George Bird Grinnell, the son of a New York merchant, saw a different future for a nation in the thrall of the Industrial Age. With railroads scarring virgin lands and the formerly vast buffalo herds decimated, the country faced a crossroads: Could it pursue Manifest Destiny without destroying its natural bounty and beauty? The alarm that Grinnell sounded would spark America's conservation movement. Yet today his name has been forgotten--an omission that John Taliaferro's commanding biography now sets right with historical care and narrative flair.

Grinnell was born in Brooklyn in 1849 and grew up on the estate of ornithologist John James Audubon. Upon graduation from Yale, he dug for dinosaurs on the Great Plains with eminent paleontologist Othniel C. Marsh--an expedition that fanned his romantic notion of wilderness and taught him a graphic lesson in evolution and extinction. Soon he joined George A. Custer in the Black Hills, helped to map Yellowstone, and scaled the peaks and glaciers that, through his labors, would become Glacier National Park. Along the way, he became one of America's most respected ethnologists; seasons spent among the Plains Indians produced numerous articles and books, including his tour de force, The Cheyenne Indians: Their History and Ways of Life .

More than a chronicler of natural history and indigenous culture, Grinnell became their tenacious advocate. He turned the sportsmen's journal Forest and Stream into a bully pulpit for wildlife protection, forest reserves, and national parks. In 1886, his distress over the loss of bird species prompted him to found the first Audubon Society. Next, he and Theodore Roosevelt founded the Boone and Crockett Club to promote "fair chase" of big game. His influence among the rich and the patrician provided leverage for the first federal legislation to protect migratory birds--a precedent that ultimately paved the way for the Endangered Species Act. And in an era when too many white Americans regarded Native Americans as backwards, Grinnell's cries for reform carried from the reservation, through the halls of Congress, all the way to the White House.

Drawing on forty thousand pages of Grinnell's correspondence and dozens of his diaries, Taliaferro reveals a man whose deeds and high-mindedness earned him a lustrous peerage, from presidents to chiefs, Audubon to Aldo Leopold, John Muir to Gifford Pinchot, Edward S. Curtis to Edward H. Harriman. Throughout his long life, Grinnell was bound by family and sustained by intimate friendships, toggling between the East and the West. As Taliaferro's enthralling portrait demonstrates, it was this tension that wound Grinnell's nearly inexhaustible spring and honed his vision--a vision that still guides the imperiled future of our national treasures.
Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "Although his fame was later eclipsed by that of such naturalists as John Muir and Aldo Leopold, Brooklyn native George Bird Grinnell (1849-1938) had a tremendous influence on conservation in his time, almost single-handedly rescuing the American buffalo from extinction and protecting Yosemite and Yellowstone from meddlesome poachers and developers. Taliaferro (All the Great Prizes, 2013) proves equal to the challenge of singing Grinnell's long overdue praises in this sweeping account of his life and many lasting accomplishments. Although Grinnell barely completed his degree at Yale in 1870, a stray opportunity to go bone hunting with one of his palaeontology professors ignited a lifelong passion for wilderness pursuits, which led to his editing Forest and Stream magazine and spending time with Plains Indian tribes. Grinnell also played a huge role in establishing Glacier National Park, where a glacier bears his name. Taliaferro's work has all the earmarks of a first-rate biography: colorful anecdotes, cameos of the many famous people Grinnell rubbed elbows with, and absorbing prose that will inspire reader admiration for this often overlooked but important environmental hero.--Carl Hays Copyright 2019 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Taliaferro (Great White Fathers), a former senior editor at Newsweek, delivers an impressive, eminently readable biography of the great conservationist George Bird Grinnell (1849-1938). In rendering a life that was "a study in romanticism, evolution, and progressivism," Taliaferro meticulously draws from 40,000 pages of correspondence, about 50 diaries and notebooks covering Grinnell's travels, 35 years of articles and editorials from his magazine, Forest and Stream, and Grinnell's many books, including the history The Fighting Cheyennes, seven novels for boys, and an unfinished autobiography. Grinnell lived on the East Coast, in New York State and Connecticut, but he lived for the West. In addition to bestowing his name, "in a rare breach of modesty," on a glacier and a lake in Montana, Grinnell formed the Audubon Society, cofounded the Boone and Crockett Club with Theodore Roosevelt, and "midwifed" Glacier National Park, while helping protect Yosemite and Yellowstone from developers. He just missed being among the dead at Little Big Horn, yet listened intently to Native Americans throughout his life and lobbied for them in Washington, D.C. Anyone who's ever set foot in a national park and wondered how it came to be will find an important part of the answer in this expansive look at an equally expansive life. (July) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved."
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Grinnell, George Bird, -- 1849-1938.
Natural history -- West (U.S.)
Naturalists -- United States -- Biography.
Conservationists -- United States -- Biography.
West (U.S.) -- History -- 1860-1890.
West (U.S.) -- History -- 1890-1945.
Publisher New York :2019
Edition First edition.
Language English
Description xvi, 606 pages : illustrations, maps ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 9781631490132
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