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"Yankee wealth is the creation of human hands, not of nature"--so writes Muir (The Glorious Fourth) in this admirable environmental and economic history, which follows the six New England states from Native Americans' neolithic agriculture through the 19th-century factory boom to its destructive aftermath. When proto-Pequots switched from hunting to agriculture, their "cornfields... nourished the population" with remarkably "little effect on the ecosystem." Europeans introduced change for the worse. Increasing in numbers and in population density, 18th-century whites replaced fields with orchards, beer with hard cider, but nevertheless wore out their land in "destructive husbandry." With its depleted soil and few mineral resources, Massachusetts and the states around it would have been destined for poverty, but New England's industrial revolution intervened. Muir shows how local culture and international trade combined to make the space from New Haven to New Hampshire the headquarters of mid-19th-century manufacturers. Demand for water power replaced a network of streams with a wall of dams. Sewage (along with duck farm runoff) devastated the oyster beds that once made the shellfish abundant and cheap. Though some species have made a comeback today, New England tomorrow promises more ecoproblems: the Maine woods are still being logged unsustainably, and too many people drive too many cars. Mountains of research power this book, while Muir's direct yet conversational tone distinguishes it: the titular pond, hard by Muir's house in Newton, Mass., gives the book's lyrical bits a visual center, while her politics tint its prose a shade of green. Serious students of New England's original peoples, watersheds and forests, of its farms, suburbs and cities, or of its near future will seek out Muir's volume. (May)
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"An extraordinary book, a combination of polemic and all-encompassing scholarship . . . What kept me fascinated here is Muir's command of the history of trades, manufactures, and industries; of farming, sawing lumber, shipping, trapping, fishing; of the making of hats, shoes, linen, ropes, sails, paper, and more. Equally impressive and deftly imparted is her knowledge of plants and animals, their habits and requirements, and their links to us and to each other. Finally, she is lucid." ―Boston GlobeSee all Editorial Reviews
Beautifully written, but omits indentured servitude (a single reference to a single group of Scots in a single sentence) and slavery (barely mentioned).Published 28 days ago by teacher
I have shared fun facts that this book taught me with almost everyone I know over the past couple months. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Terry MacDonald
Ms Muir is a great storyteller. I was interested in the topic and prepared to slog through boring text to learn something, but this was AMAZING. Read like a novel. Read morePublished on February 16, 2005 by C. Coonahan
Other reviewers have discussed the virtues of the book, so I will only add that the lessons to be learned from this well written and fascinating study are relevant to the entire... Read morePublished on January 24, 2003 by B. Yankee
Using a pond near her home in Newton, MA as a backdrop, Diana Muir weaves a compelling view of New England history, which she argues is a series of ecological crises. Read morePublished on October 30, 2002 by Craig L. Howe
This is one of the best books I have ever read- period! At the core of the book is Ms. Muir's message that we are part of nature, not separate from or above nature, and we have a... Read morePublished on August 1, 2002
It is hard to imagine how Reflections in Bullough's Pond could have been better written. Diana Muir gives an account of the interplay between New England's economic history and its... Read morePublished on July 25, 2002
This is a REALLY nice example of the possibilities that exist when an author weaves together multiple strands of thought in a comprehensive view of a topic or region. Read morePublished on July 21, 2002
Everyone who visits, lives in, or loves New England will love this book. On almost every page there is something that makes you say, 'Aha! now I understand. Read morePublished on June 27, 2002