Our Natural History

Our Natural History : The Lessons of Lewis and Clark

3.62 (27 ratings by Goodreads)
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Often referred to as America's national epic of exploration, the 28-month Lewis and Clark expedition was certainly America's greatest odyssey. Commissioned in 1804 by Thomas Jefferson, Meriwether Lewis and William Clark set off on the greatest wilderness trip ever recorded. Beginning in St. Louis, they navigated up the Missouri River and through the prairies, enduring a winter with the Mandan Indians in North Dakota, reaching the summit of the Rocky Mountains and then following the Columbia River to their final destination, the Pacific Ocean. Trained in natural history and in the methods of collecting plant and animal samples, Lewis and Clark carefully and meticulously recorded the conditions of the rivers, prairies, forests, mountains, and wildlife of pre-industrial America. Now, in this new edition of Our Natural History, Daniel B. Botkin, a distinguished botanist and naturalist, re-creates the grand journey-taking us on an exciting ecological adventure back to the landscape of the great American West. In retracing their steps, Botkin reveals what this western landscape actually looked like and how much it's been changed by modern civilization and technology.
With fresh insight, Botkin shows us that from the explorers' observations, we can learn much about the environment of our past, our environment today, and what our environment might be in the future. Now with a new Afterword marking the 200th anniversary of the expedition, this timely and thought-provoking book captures our imagination and stimulates our sentiment with lessons about our environment and our place within it. Our Natural History offers a stunning and rare portrait of the rugged, beautiful, disappearing wilderness of the American West.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 328 pages
  • 149.86 x 200.66 x 25.4mm | 340.19g
  • New York, United States
  • English
  • 1 map, 1 halftone
  • 0195168291
  • 9780195168297

Review quote

"In Our Natural History: The Lessons of Lewis and Clark, reissued with a new afterword by the author in celebration of the Lewis and Clark bicentennial, Botkin uses the journals to depict vividly the West of Lewis and Clark's time, comparing it with his own journeys to these now greatly changed places. In the end, Botkin argues, we must 'come to a new understanding of the texture and weave of nature and of our relationship with it."-Nature Conservancy Magazine Praise for the previous edition: "With scores of natural ecosystems endangered in at least half of the contiguous 48 states, the pertinent scientific question is, 'How can they be saved?' Botkin provides a bag of clues and a map. It is provocative and interesting reading."-Sierra Magazine Our Natural History moves like a bracing hike in the Rockies with a partner who, unlike Lewis and Clark themselves, is possessed of the scientist's intellectual discipline and the naturalist's sense of wonder."-Audubon Magazine "Everyone who shares an interest in the environment and the economic future should read this book. He has a view of the environment that is both practical and deeply rooted in history and fundamental science, and he emerges with important and innovative things to say about the perceived tensions between ecology and competitiveness. Centering these approaches on the journals of the Lewis and Clark expedition provides great continuity with the American West as it existed shortly after the United States became a nation."-Harold J. Morowitz, Director, Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, George Mason University "Hard hitting and provocative. We can only hope that books like this will steer us toward a more respectful and environmentally sound way of life."-Booklist
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About Daniel B. Botkin

Daniel Botkin is President of the Center for the Study of the Environment in Santa Barbara, California, and Research Professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He is the author of more than one hundred books and articles, including Discordant Harmonies (OUP 2000).
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Rating details

27 ratings
3.62 out of 5 stars
5 19% (5)
4 33% (9)
3 44% (12)
2 0% (0)
1 4% (1)
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