From Library Journal
Perlin has accumulated what seems every reference to the use and misuse of forests in the period beginning with Gilgamesh and ending with the 1880 U.S. census. In between, he chronicles the deforestation of Asia, the Mediterranean, Europe, the West Indies, and the United States by kings, warlords, and robber barons for purposes ranging from building navies to smelting iron to clearing land for cash crops. The research is exhaustive, but the book disappoints in two ways. First, the style is flat. All information is treated as equal in weight, without interpretation or expert opinion. This makes for heavy reading; the hundreds of subheadings in the text accentuate a sense of the book as a compilation, rather than a narrative. Second, given how deforestation has recently become a hot topic, one wishes for a connection to the present time, so that the information might be applied, rather than simply noted.
- Mark L. Shelton, Columbus, Ohio
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
A delightful book...[It] is history in the etymological sense of the word--a story, told with grace, fluency, imagination, and humor...Perlin's central thesis is that wood has been both humanity's main material and main fuel, that its abundance made possible the rapid growth of successive civilizations, and that its exhaustion has been a major cause of their collapse...Out of this rich experience emerges a many-sided understanding of the causes of deforestation...[This book] deserves to become a classic. (Philip Stewart Forest and Conservation History)
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An intriguing and informative account...This work not only captures the significant impact of wood on past and present civilizations but also provides special insight into world history and demography. The book is well written and well illustrated and has an extensive note section...It should have appeal to a broad readership. (Choice)
Outstanding...profusely documented and illustrated...with a story-teller's pace and ability to surprise...This book takes one of those bold imaginative sweeps through history that leave you full of excitement, as suddenly events seem to fall into a pattern for the first time. (British Broadcasting Corporation)
A Forest Journey is a timely and absorbing piece of history. Perlin marshals his authorities with skill...His story never flags. (Times Literary Supplement)