From Publishers Weekly
Once upon a time, a Republican was the nation's leading crusader for clean air and water, sustainable growth and the protection of endangered species. In this engrossing blend of biography and insider politics—an exciting story occasionally muffled by the minutiae of bureaucratic maneuvering—Flippen (Nixon and the Environment
) casts a nostalgic eye on a brief period of American ecological achievement: the years between Lyndon Johnson's retirement and Ronald Reagan's ascendance to the White House. That's when conservationist Russell Train, self-made son of a rock-ribbed Republican family, helped craft the Clean Air Act and a forerunner of the Clean Water Act, empowered the nascent Environmental Protection Agency with political muscle and was active in ecological diplomacy abroad—though he counseled a moderation that dismayed more aggressive activists. Train left the EPA with Jimmy Carter's election in 1976, leading the American branch of the World Wildlife Federation and operating "as essentially a free-agent environmentalist" for two decades, always a loyal Republican until, dismayed by the second Bush's environmental record, he voted (at age 84) for John Kerry in 2004. This slice of political history is a timely reminder that Train's credo—"ecologists are the true conservatives"—once held sway. (Sept.)
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