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In a Dark Wood: The Fight Over Forests and the Myths of Nature Paperback – May 11, 2001

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In a Dark Wood: The Fight Over Forests and the Myths of Nature + The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"A gripping story."

New York Times

"A must-read for those who care about the environment."

Wall Street Journal

"If you walk in the woods, read this book. It will open your eyes to what you're actually seeing."

Men's Journal

"Fascinating reading, impeccably researched, and powerful."

Kirkus Reviews

"The single most profound—and alarming—book in three decades of environmental literature."

Orange County Register

"Anyone who wants to know why environmentalism has taken such an extreme turn in the past twenty-five years should read Alston Chase's account of the capture of the U.S. environmental movement. But the book has a much broader sweep. . . . In a Dark Wood should therefore appeal to the thoughtful liberals and conservatives alike."

—Robert W. Crandall, The Brookings Institute

About the Author

Alston Chase has written widely on natural history, the environment, and animal welfare. He is the author of Playing God in Yellowstone, In a Dark Wood, and Harvard and the Unabomber.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 535 pages
  • Publisher: Transaction Publishers (May 11, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765807521
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765807526
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.3 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #490,652 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

83 of 92 people found the following review helpful By Emily Zimmerman on November 28, 2002
Format: Paperback
Until reading "In a Dark Wood" I espoused "politically correct" environmentalist views -- such as "all old growth forests must be saved at any cost from evil logging" -- in a knee-jerk, emotionally charged, self-righteous way, without ever taking the trouble to study or think through what was really at stake, and what premises about reality underlay my views. Alston Chase's thinking on conservation is so clearly presented, so well backed by evidence, so carefully analysed, and so full of good will and integrity, that I find it impossible to read his book without respecting his intentions -- and his conclusions, which challenge everything I had unthinkingly assumed in the past. This is the kind of book that not only addresses concrete problems, such as the political struggle between, say Earth First and Maxxam Corporation, but also inspires the reader to think more deeply, and question his/her assumptions. This is the kind of book I think most self-labeled "environmentalists" -- especially those who come from white, middle class, college-educated backgrounds -- will dismiss prior to investigation, and will never read. If so, it is a sad loss. It's a book that can change your views and help you learn to think better -- and I believe most people would rather not do so, since thinking better might well spoil the dramatic excitement of waging a war of good against evil, nature against humanity. Still, I hope people will read this book. It's one that changed my life.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By a reviewer on March 29, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book should be required reading in schools across the country. From Middle School through College.

There are few books that can change the way that you view the world, but this one surely did for me. Coming into this book, I had very conventional views on Environmentalism and humanity's place in the world. After reading this detailed history of the environmental movement, and the history of the ideas behind it, you can't help but realize how wrong you were.

That's not to say that the public discourse against environmentalism that comes from a conservative viewpoint is correct, but rather is equally wrong. This book skewers both sides of the public discourse on the subject. Rather, it takes a stand based upon evidence and rational thought, which is what has been missing from the public debate.

However, at heart this book is apolitical, and refreshingly free of opinion. It doesn't preach easy answers, and despite claims otherwise, it doesn't lean right or left in the political spectrum. This book eschews that, and simply steps back to examine human history and the history of our ideas about nature. The conclusions that it draws, (or rather, that it asks YOU to draw), are all based on solid evidence easily found in other sources. The truly remarkable thing about this book though is how it deals with the history of IDEAS. A subject of study that is little discussed in the mainstream, but which has much to teach.

I can't recommend this book enough. I think everyone will find something useful within this book, and I can't believe that it is isn't more widely regarded. This book will change your life.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Camille Mitchell on September 6, 2008
Format: Paperback
I was not expecting such a thoughtful and open-minded look at the fight for old growth forests. I had always wondered why deep ecologists were willing to suspend critical thinking and accept the gaia world view. Chase explains that right at the beginning of the book. In other words he uses critical thinking, something not well taught today.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By bossel on September 6, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A very educational book. I always suspected the eco-freak wackos & even some of the so-called scientists were not following true scientific principles.
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In a Dark Wood: The Fight Over Forests and the Myths of Nature
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