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Nature's New Deal: The Civilian Conservation Corps and the Roots of the American Environmental Movement Paperback

ISBN-13: 978-0195392418 ISBN-10: 0195392418

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (August 31, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195392418
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195392418
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #142,467 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Maher has satisfied long unsatiated appetites with a full plate of new ideas and insight about Franklin Roosevelt's beloved agency [and] should be congratulated for bringing science into the historical equation."--H-Net

"...this book shows us that while we might know some of the nuts and bolts of the CCC and understand its popularity, in fact we have little understanding of the critical role it played in American environmentalism in the mid-twentieth century.... Maher does a nice job of explaining the CCC.... Nature's New Deal belongs on every environmental historian's bookshelf but it also speaks beyond our field to not only American historians in general but also to environmental activists and general readers."--Environmental History

"Neil Maher's Nature's New Deal invites us to accord the CCC a centrality in the history of environmentalism.... Besides enlarging the debate to include human conservation, the ranks of the interested were swelled by what the CCC accomplished, not least by former enrollees who flocked to forestry jobs and the forestry departments of state universities, but also by the legion of citizens who had some to value recreating in altered landscapes, and even by the opponents of CCC "violations" of pristine nature. All became and their successors remain advocates for conservation, however defined."--Gregg R. Narber, The Annals of Iowa

"Blending careful research with an ability to synthesize seemingly disparate topics, from electoral politics to gender roles and landscape architecture, Maher offers a rich and complex history of how Americans became green.... This is an ambitious and imaginative book that opens new terrain for historians."--Matthew Klingle, American Historical Review

"A meticulously researched history of Franklin D. Roosevelt's most popular New Deal program, the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) and its political implications and impact on conservation-environmental movements then and now.... Highly recommended."--P.D. Travis, CHOICE

"Neil Maher has done us a great service by recalling the forgotten history of the New Deal's conservation programs. His research is impressive, and he writes with clarity and grace. His study offers us valuable insights for understanding the environment controversies of our time."--Howard Zinn, author of A People's History of the United States

"Neil Maher's brilliant book shows that the Civilian Conservation Corps did much more than plant trees, clear trails, and build parks--in critical ways, the CCC broadened the conservation cause. Nature's New Deal is required reading for anyone interested in the roots of the modern environmental movement."--Adam Rome, author of The Bulldozer in the Countryside: Suburban Sprawl and the Rise of American Environmentalism

"Nature's New Deal is not only a compelling case study of the centrality of conservation to New Deal state-building; it is also a stunning explication of the Civilian Conservation Corps' profound and lasting legacy for modern environmental politics."--Paul S. Sutter, University of Georgia

"Nature's New Deal is not only an engaging and well-written history of the most popular program of the New Deal, the Civilian Conservation Corps, but a compelling assessment of its long-term impact on the land and on environmental politics. All students of the Depression era or environmental politics will want to read it. Those who seek a stronger environmental policy simply must."--Louis S. Warren, author of Buffalo Bill's America: William Cody and the Wild West Show

"An important new book that will prove as useful to scholars and teachers of the New Deal as to those of environmental history."--Elizabeth Pillsbury, Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

"From corps camp records and government publications to popular media such as magazines and newspapers, Neil Maher presents a well-documented story of this key time in environmental history. Though the book will be well received by scholars as a primer on New Deal Era environmental thought, the author presents the material in a manner whereby even the lay reader will find great enjoyment in the adventure from Hetch Hetchy to Echo Park." --Chronicles of Oklahoma

About the Author

Neil M. Maher is Associate Professor of History, Federated History Department, New Jersey Institute of Technology--Rutgers University, Newark.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Roger D. Launius VINE VOICE on January 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Neil Maher has written an outstanding account of Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), a pathbreaking experiment of the New Deal in which young people were brought together in camps to undertake conservation work on the nation's natural resources. They rescued public lands from desolation by planting trees and undertaking other efforts to return the wilderness to a pristine condition. Millions of Americans worked for the CCC at one time or another, and in many instances they did more than just earn a paycheck.

As Maher makes clear, the primary reason for the program in the first place was to help people destitute during the depths of the Great Depression but it accomplished much more. Those who participated in the CCC, he argues, also gained an appreciation for the importance of America's wilderness areas through their CCC experience and became lifelong devotees of ecological efforts. As a group the CCC veterans emerged from these camps dedicated to preservation of the wilds, making efficient use of natural resources, promoting health through outdoor recreation, and stressing ecological balance. The experience of CCC veterans prompted them to become the shock troops of a modern environmental movement that arose later.

Neil Maher's "Nature's New Deal" tells this story with verve and style. It is even more significant at this time in 2009 as the nation enters into the most severe economic downturn since the 1930s.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Karol Nielsen on September 15, 2011
Format: Paperback
This is a history book that reads as gracefully as The Best American Essays about the genesis of the American environmental movement. A favorite chapter covers Franklin Roosevelt's background as a timber conservationist and his passion for public parks, built by the Depression-era Civilian Conservation Corps. A fascinating read.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By dustjacket on November 2, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Anyone interested in the CCC will find this book well written and informative. Unlike most material of this nature it isn't dry as toast, and moves the reader to a new insight into how the foundation of the corp evolved into something of an agenda. However not being a fact checker myself I can't say if it is indeed factual.Most of what I knew before reading this book came from word of mouth from relatives of the era.Those having been in the corp themself, or married to one that was.
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By Robert Myers on July 17, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a first-rate environmental history of the most popular program in the New Deal. The book raises fascinating points about the CCC, it is thoroughly researched, and Maher is a fine writer. A pleasure to read. The discussion of the conservation of the health of the boys is especially interesting, as is the chapter on the critique of the CCC that developed late in the 1930s. Excellent photographs too!
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