The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed

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W. W. Norton & Company, 2005 - Nature - 255 pages
As vividly as Jon Krakauer put readers on Everest, John Vaillant takes us into the heart of North America's last great forest, where trees grow to eighteen feet in diameter, sunlight never touches the ground, and the chainsaws are always at work.

When a shattered kayak and camping gear are found on an uninhabited island, they reignite a mystery surrounding a shocking act of protest. Five months earlier, logger-turned-activist Grant Hadwin had plunged naked into a river in British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Islands, towing a chainsaw. When his night's work was done, a unique Sitka spruce, 165 feet tall and covered with luminous golden needles, teetered on its stump. Two days later it fell.

The tree, a fascinating puzzle to scientists, was sacred to the Haida, a fierce seafaring tribe based in the Queen Charlottes. Vaillant recounts the bloody history of the Haida and the early fur trade, and provides harrowing details of the logging industry, whose omnivorous violence would claim both Hadwin and the golden spruce.
 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - LGCullens - LibraryThing

Surrounding a specific event, this book not only depicts a very interesting history of Haida Gwaii (formally Queen Charlotte Islands) that is well rounded with applicable tangents, but also presents ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - kcshankd - LibraryThing

Fascinating tale, mostly well told. The story of the end of old growth is disgusting, and a blight on all of us alive to witness the spectacle. So short-sighted. The protagonist of this tale is not ... Read full review

Contents

A Threshold Between Worlds
7
The People
21
Wildest of the Wild
35
The Tooth of the Human Race
53
The Beginning of the End
69
A Boardwalk to Mars
81
The Fatal Flaw
99
The Fall
123
The Search
179
The Secret
191
Coyote
207
Over the Horizon
215
Revival
233
WOOD MEASUREMENT
241
ENDNOTES
243
BIBLIOGRAPHY
251

Myth
145
Hecate Strait
159

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About the author (2005)

John Vaillant has written for The New Yorker, the Atlantic, Outside, National Geographic Adventure, and Men's Journal, among others. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia. The Golden Spruce is his first book.

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