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The Man from Clear Lake: Earth Day Founder Senator Gaylord Nelson Hardcover – March 15, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Why have a special day to emphasize protection of our natural environment? Gaylord Nelson, the senator from Clear Lake, Wisconsin, and product of a politically progressive family, saw the need to bring environmental activism into mainstream society, and consequently made history in 1970 as 20 million Americans celebrated the first Earth Day. Indian sitar music played in Nelson's home state; Pete Seeger performed at the Washington Monument; 10 million public school children participated in programs; and Senator Edmund Muskie called for "environmental revolution." Nelson, winner of five statewide elections, was twice reelected to the Senate by large margins and served Wisconsin for 30 years. His 1980 defeat, therefore, came as a surprise, but enabled him to become chairman of the Wilderness Society, a post he maintained for 20 years, until he turned 85 and saw 500 million people in 167 nations participate in Earth Day. Christofferson's "authorized" biography is smoothly and engagingly written and will enlighten readers interested in environmental studies, politics, and history. Whitney Scott
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"Widely regarded as one of the leading environmentalists in American history, Gaylord Nelson is best known as the founder of Earth Day. This political biography tells the rest of the story—how a small town boy from Wisconsin became a national champion of a progressive agenda. Nelson's record on civil liberties, consumer issues, and Vietnam is remarkable. His story is an inspiration." —Al Gore



"Gaylord Nelson was one of the great public servants of the post–World War II era. This illuminating book is a priceless account of his life and accomplishments."—Tom Brokaw



"A fun book to read—filled with fascinating stories of politics in the twentieth century. We yearn for more political leaders like Gaylord who always voted his conscience and led with integrity and humor."—Bill Meadows, president, The Wilderness Society
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press (March 15, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0299196402
  • ISBN-13: 978-0299196400
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.7 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,190,923 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By A Customer on June 12, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Gaylord Nelson had a great politican career, as a text book
liberal governor and later senator who was the prime mover behind Earth Day. Nelson's greatest achievement may have been
working with Bill Christofferson on this book, which reads more like a novel, that you can not put down, than a standard politican bio. Christofferson has a magnificent way of drawing the reader into the most seemingly boring aspects of state and local government. Nelson was one of the best liked senators of the last century, even Lyndon Johnson, who Nelson strongly opposed on Vietnam, made a private contribute to his senate reelection campaign in 1968. Nelson's life was very straight forward, with little drama or tension. It would be interesting to see what Christofferson could do with senators from the same period who had longer careers and more national fame, such as William Fulbright (Arkansas senator who had to deal with civil rights issues in Washington and back home and battles with LBJ over Vietnam) or Margaret Chase Smith (first woman senator and also first senator to denounce Joe McCarthy, but later became a hawk on Vietnam and lost touch with Maine voters). It is a blessing that Gaylord Nelson is still around to know that this book about his career will keep his memory alive for many years to come.
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Format: Hardcover
Christofferson tells us so vividly about the life of Gaylord Nelson. His prose has such flow that you don't really realize you're reading a biography until you have finished reading the book! The life of Nelson is truly an incredible one, and Christofferson does a magnificent job of relaying that life and the history of Earth Day to the reader. This is a "must" book, not just for the nature lover or the environmentalist, but also for those who want to learn about the real, behind-the-scenes heros of our great country. A book to read, indeed!
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By A Customer on June 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Finally, a talented writer and historian has told the compelling story of the founder of Earth Day, and indeed the modern environmental movement, Gaylord Nelson. This book is a must read for anyone who supports the environment, has taken part in Earth Day, or just wants to read about an entertaining politician. Christofferson's light and witty pen keeps the story moving. You won't be able to set it down.
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Format: Hardcover
A finely written biography that will appeal to virtually anyone with an interest in the history of the environmental movement, Wisconsin history, or great individuals who had a profound impact on this country. Christofferson writes an insightful, yet easy to read novel that keeps the reader coming back for more.
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Format: Hardcover
MR. ENVIRONMENT

On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans (then 10 percent of the population) from diverse backgrounds took to the streets with the common mission of protecting the environment. Earth Day marked the naissance of an era of environmental activism and legislation, and co-founder Senator Gaylord Nelson (D-WI) was the catalyst. In The Man From Clear Lake (University of Wisconsin Press, $30), author Bill Christofferson takes his readers from Nelson's home base in rural Wisconsin to the U.S. Senate, while exploring what spurred him on-a love of nature. This beautifully written biography reveals a man of great diligence, who possessed the ability to mobilize citizens, senators and Presidents to make a stand for "an environment of decency, quality and mutual respect for all living creatures."

-K.H. in Sept/Oct 2004 issue of E.
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