- Paperback: 448 pages
- Publisher: Island Press; Revised edition (June 20, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 155963832X
- ISBN-13: 978-1559638326
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 4 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #480,558 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Forcing the Spring: The Transformation of the American Environmental Movement Revised Edition
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Frequently bought together
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
Robert Gottlieb is the Henry R. Luce Professor of Urban Environmental Studies and director of the Urban and Environmental Policy Institute at Occidental College. He is author or co-author of ten books including Environmentalism Unbound (MIT Press, 2001).
Top customer reviews
Approximately 200 million people around the world celebrated Earth day on April 22, 1990 by planting a tree or some other similar act. Although this sounds like a grand event, possibly one to celebrate as a success for the planet, Robert Gottlieb disagrees. His book Forcing the Spring, is a comprehensive view of the American environmental movement. According to reviewer Frederick H. Buttel, the goal of the book is to document the, "diversity and in so doing, to catalyze a public and intellectual redefinition of environmentalism," (p. 52). Gottlieb shifts the definition of the movement from one merely focused on protection and management of natural resources to one of a 100 year old social movement (p.11). A social movement, he claims, that is centered on grassroots movements and began by women, not corporate style organizations ran by middle aged white men (p. 170). The author looks down on the corporate style events of 1990 and notes the lack in focus and how it failed to empower the environmental movement and find a new consensus.
Forcing the Spring is organized into three parts. The first of these sections resurrects the roots of the environmental movement. The author reveals how early urban women were as important as John Muir and Gifford Pinchot's western dilemmas. In the second part, Gottlieb investigates the further developments from the end of the 1960s to the second Earth Day in 1990. He researches both corporate and grassroots' organizations and explains their dichotomous ways worked to separate the movement only. In the last of the three sections, Gottlieb delves further into specific aspects of the grassroots side of things. He highlights the addition of lower class neighborhood activism, the rise of blacks in the movement, and how women all placed environment at the forefront of society in ways never seen before.
Alice Hamilton according to Gottlieb is a pivotal figure and is unfortunately forgotten in most standard environmental texts. She began the movement in his opinion in 1890, and became the world's first environmental advocate before the term yet existed (p. 51). Living in Chicago's Hull House, Dr. Hamilton researched industrial diseases and was socially active according to Gottlieb. Her findings led to an appointment with the Illinois State Commission on Occupational and Health Issues in 1908. She worked to link environmental politics to social health issues and brought about changes in the hazardous lead industry (p. 49). Gottlieb claims Alice Hamilton laid the, "groundwork for discussing environmental themes in an urban industrial context," (p.86). Hamilton's early works allowed for Rachel Carson's launch of industry and urban issues to the forefront of the movement in the 1960s.
Carson's work Silent Spring written in 1962 led to a rise in grassroots' anti-toxic environmental movements. Gottlieb claims her argument that public health and natural environments were inseparable was an attempt at a new environmental consciousness (p.84). The new movement involved ordinary people, women, minorities, and lower classes, to "make things happen" (p. 163). Penny Newman, according to Gottlieb was one of those persons. She is most noted for her involvement in the campaign to convince McDonalds to stop using CFC based foam containers for their sandwiches. The grassroots movement used picketing and letter writing effectively and by 1990 the corporation shifted away from the Styrofoam boxes (p. 162-163). Although her group began as an antitoxin awareness coalition, they were active and successful in many arenas. This type of small, action based troupe is what Gottlieb feels has brought about the most environmental change in America.
Gottlieb heralds the addition of women, ethnic minorities, and lower class groups into the environmental movement. He feels their participation and inclusion only works to, "broaden the possibilities for social and environmental change," (p. 306). He hopes in the post cold-war world a true consensus can be found in the movement. He hoped the 1990s new youth would find a nice unity between social and natural justice. Reviewer George Warecki calls Forcing The Spring a thoroughly documented, excellent resource and one which," offers a broad interpretive framework for ongoing studies into the history of North American environmentalism," (p. 92). Gottlieb achieved his goal in expanding the history of the movement by including many who were formally unheard of by this reviewer.
Buttel, Frederick H. "Review." Contemporary Sociology 24 (1995): 51-53.
Warecki, George. "Review." Forest & Conservation History 39 (1995): 91-92.