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The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed Paperback – May 17, 2006
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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More About the Author
His first book, The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed (Norton, 2005), was a bestseller and won several awards, including the Governor General's Literary Award for Non-Fiction (Canada).
His second book, The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival (Knopf, 2010) was an international bestseller and has been translated into 15 languages. Film rights have been optioned by Plan B, Brad Pitt's production company.
In 2014, Vaillant won Yale University's Windham Campbell prize for nonfiction (worldwide English).
His first novel, The Jaguar's Children (HMH, 2015), is coming out in January.
Top Customer Reviews
This is a book about so many things--the natural history of British Columbia and the offshore islands, the heritage of the Haida and other island British Columbian tribes, the lives of the courageous men who felled trees for logging companies in the 1900's, and the life of logger-turned-activist Grant Hadwin, who felled a magnificent and one-of-a-kind-tree. Vaillant weaves a compelling tale of the formation of the islands and the native tribes, who first gained wealth trading sea otter pellets with the Europeans. When that business dried up, there were tough times until the logging business picked up. One tree, the Golden Spruce of myth and legend, was spared by the logging conglomerates as a publicity stunt, until Hadwin came along.
Vaillant sets up the story well, priming the reader with history and science until Hadwin comes into the picture. I only have two criticisms of the book. (1) Hadwin is kind of "snuck in" to the story. Vaillant speaks of Hadwin's uncle Angus and then brings Hadwin in without introducing him as the man the Golden Spruce story is about. Unless the reader read the inner jacket, they have no idea why they are reading about this Hadwin (or Angus) character for so long. (2) There are no pictures of the mythical Golden Spruce, other than the cover shot, which looks to be altered so that it stands out more than the other green trees. I'm not even sure if the cover shot is genuine or an artist's rendition.Read more ›
This book is a manifesto, a cry for worldwide attention of the destruction forces of human nature, against the mindless consumerism that exterminates the landmarks of the natural world.
I loved this book. I enjoyed reading about the intricacies of a profession, which claims more lives each year than many other high risk jobs. I was captured in the narrative on the delicate nature of this very complex organism - the tree. I was amazed to learn of another miracle of the Earth - the Golden Spruce, this landmark of biology that survived despite all odds. I was saddened to find out of yet another disappearing Indian nation, that of the Haidas.
Beautifully written, containing a wealth of information on an industry I knew little about, it narrates a story about the act of a sick man and his effort to attract worldwide attention to the right issue via the wrong deed. But in the end, the story begs the question - Is sometimes the sword mightier than the pen? You decide, reader.
This book is wonderful and should be on the reading list of all high schools. Young adults must learn about the consequences of logging, the result of defaced lands and their effect on the world's environment.
- by Simon Cleveland
Vaillant is a majestic writer. His historical description of Canada's Northwest Coastal forest in British Columbia is superb. The author carefully details how the Northwest forests support more living tissue, by weight, than an other eco system, including the Equatorial jungle. He also reports how the Queen Charlotte Islands were the historical territory of the Haida People, who call their home Haida Gwaii. The Haida People knew the Golden Spruce was exceptional and called it "K'iid K'iyaas" for the Elder Spruce Tree.
The woodcutter has been the point man for Western civilization. Some loggers are good, considerate road builders. Unfortunately, most loggers are extremely wasteful and rape the earth. Grant Hadwin was a rugged woodcutter and intelligent road builder who detested the giant corporations that destroyed vast forests with little concern for fundamental environmental considerations. Over time Hadwin leaves his wonderful family...becomes mentally unglued...and commits a great crime. Recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Well written and researched. Vaillant's writting style is captivating. However, I am disappointed that the author did not make territorial acknowledgements at the start of the... Read morePublished 1 month ago by John Smith
Interesting story, no mystery but lots of good historical informationPublished 3 months ago by Don Kussee
Great story. Once again, John Valliant play to his strengths and exquisite research to tell a timeless tale of place and people that draws on myth and reality. Read morePublished 4 months ago by Randy Geer
A great story particularly if you have or plan to spend some time in the Pscific NorthwestPublished 5 months ago by Barracuda
Beautifully written. I was pulled into the story and since I have spent much time in Western Canada I appreciated the intoduction as well as this facinating read. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Good mystery story with detailed information about the lumber industry in Canada.Published 5 months ago by S Miller
The author let's you make up your own mind about the impact of logging. A great read that begins with our ancestors and ends with future generations. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Cheryl R Wolff