- Hardcover: 272 pages
- Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; First Edition edition (May 17, 2005)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0393058875
- ISBN-13: 978-0393058871
- Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 162 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #301,477 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed First Edition Edition
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From Publishers Weekly
The felling of a celebrated giant golden spruce tree in British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Islands takes on a potent symbolism in this probing study of an unprecedented act of eco-vandalism. First-time author Vaillant, who originally wrote about the death of the spruce for the New Yorker, profiles the culprit, an ex-logger turned messianic environmentalist who toppled the famous tree—the only one of its kind—to protest the destruction of British Columbia's old-growth forest, then soon vanished mysteriously. Vaillant also explores the culture and history of the Haida Indians who revered the tree, and of the logging industry that often expresses an elegiac awe for the ancient trees it is busily clear-cutting. Writing in a vigorous, evocative style, Vaillant portrays the Pacific Northwest as a region of conflict and violence, from the battles between Europeans and Indians over the 18th-century sea otter trade to the hard-bitten, macho milieu of the logging camps, where grisly death is an occupational hazard. It is also, in his telling, a land of virtually infinite natural resources overmatched by an even greater human rapaciousness. Through this archetypal story of "people fail[ing] to see the forest for the tree," Vaillant paints a haunting portrait of man's vexed relationship with nature. Photos.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
*Starred Review* This powerful and vexing man-versus-nature tale is set in an extraordinary place, Canada's Queen Charlotte Islands, and features two legendary individuals: a uniquely golden 300-year-old Sitka spruce and Grant Hadwin, a logger turned champion of old-growth forests who ultimately destroys what he loves. With a firm grasp of every confounding aspect of this suspenseful and disturbing story and a flair for creating arresting allegories and metaphors, Vaillant conveys a wealth of complex biological, cultural, historical, and economic information within an incisive interpretation of the essential role trees have played in human civilization. Breathtaking evocations of this oceanic realm of giant trees and epic rains give way to a homage to its ghosts, for this is the sight of a holocaust, where the creative and dauntless Haida were nearly decimated by Europeans who also clear-cut the mighty forests. It is this legacy of greed and loss that rendered the immense golden spruce, a miraculous survivor, sacred, and that drove Hadwin to cut it down. This tragic tale goes right to the heart of the conflicts among loggers, native rights activists, and environmentalists, and induces us to more deeply consider the consequences of our habits of destruction. Donna Seaman
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Top customer reviews
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The author convincingly introduces readers to the world of Hadwin, the experienced and efficient logger, into the abominable logging practices sanctioned by both government and industry not so long ago, then the protagonist's gradual conversion into becoming what one would now describe as an eco-terrorist. He also writes engagingly about the islands, the Haida themselves, their history and culture, but refrains from romanticizing. We also learn what an important place this iconic tree took in the beliefs of the Haida and about the deep scars its destruction caused.
'The Golden Spruce is a fascinating and well written tale, but more than just a story about this tree and Haida Gwaii, In some way it is also one about a microcosm representative of man's uneasy relationship with the world he inhabits since earliest times..