The Humboldt Current: Nineteenth-Century Exploration and the Roots of American Environmentalism

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A masterly and beautifully written account of the impact of Alexander von Humboldt on nineteenth-century American history and culture

The naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt (1769?1859) achieved unparalleled fame in his own time. Today, however, he and his enormous legacy to American thought are virtually unknown. In The Humboldt Current, Aaron Sachs traces Humboldt?s pervasive influence on American history through examining the work of four explorers?J. N. Reynolds, Clarence King, George Wallace, and John Muir?who embraced Humboldt?s idea of a ?chain of connection? uniting all peoples and all environments. A skillful blend of narrative and interpretation that also discusses Humboldt?s influence on Emerson, Whitman, Thoreau, Melville, and Poe, The Humboldt Current offers a colorful, passionate, and superbly written reinterpretation of nineteenth-century American history.


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THE HUMBOLDT CURRENT: Nineteenth-Century Exploration and the Roots of American Environmentalism

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Erudite yet highly accessible biography of the Prussian explorer and naturalist who altered the 19th century's intellectual climate and became the godfather of the American environmental movement ... Read full review

The Humboldt current: nineteenth-century exploration and the roots of American environmentalism

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In his first book, Sachs (history & American studies, Cornell Univ.) surveys 19th-century American environmentalism by examining the life and work of naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt ... Read full review


Personal Narrative of a Journey Radical Romanticism
Cosmos Unification Ecology
Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada The Art of SelfExposure
Catastrophism and the Evolution of Environment
In the Lena Delta Arctic Tragedy and American Imperialism
The Cruise of the Corwin Nature Natives Nation
The Grounding of American Environmentalism

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About the author (2007)

Aaron Sachs is a professor of history and American studies at Cornell University and an award-winning environmental journalist. This is his first book.

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