Date of this Version
Great Plains Quarterly 33:2 (Spring 2013)
This is not an environmental history of America. That would require several volumes, as William Cronon’s foreword acknowledges. Instead, Mark Fiege looks at nine episodes of American history and tells us how nature—the environment—played its part in their unfolding.
The traditional definition of environmental history, expressed by historian Richard White, is the study of the consequences of human actions on the environment, and the reciprocal consequences of an altered nature on human society. In Fiege’s fresh view, “humanity’s freedom to think and act inevitably encounters the limits that nature imposes.”