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The Republic of NatureThe Republic of Nature

An Environmental History of the United States

Mark Fiege


Book published by University of Washington Press


In the dramatic narratives that comprise The Republic of Nature, Mark Fiege reframes the canonical account of American history based on the simple but radical premise that nothing in the nation's past can be considered apart from the natural circumstances in which it occurred. Revisiting historical icons so familiar that schoolchildren learn to take them for granted, he makes surprising connections that enable readers to see old stories in a new light.

Among the historical moments revisited here, a revolutionary nation arises from its environment and struggles to reconcile the diversity of its people with the claim that nature is the source of liberty. Abraham Lincoln, an unlettered citizen from the countryside, steers the Union through a moment of extreme peril, guided by his clear-eyed vision of nature's capacity for improvement. In Topeka, Kansas, transformations of land and life prompt a lawsuit that culminates in the momentous civil rights case of Brown v. Board of Education.

Mark Fiege is associate professor of history and the William E. Morgan Chair of Liberal Arts at Colorado State University, Fort Collins. He is the author of Irrigated Eden: The Making of an Agricultural Landscape in the West.

REVIEWS:

“Fiege has written a book that will undoubtedly leave an imprint on the field of environmental history and beyond.... he has added his book to a short list of must-reads in the field of environmental history.”

Pacific Northwest Quarterly

“Fiege makes a powerful case for always asking the question 'How does nature matter?' when thinking about any present or historical issue or social policy.”

Tikkun

“This smart and well-written book, one both synthetic and generative, hopefully will, in fact, prompt students, researchers, and the public to further explore the paths that circle through the nature of American history.”

Southern California Quarterly





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