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

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Penguin, 2007 - Biography & Autobiography - 496 pages
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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

User Review  - Jane Doe - Kirkus

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

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

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

Contents

Personal Narrative of a Journey Radical Romanticism
41
Cosmos Unification Ecology
73
Part
113
Mountaineering in the Sierra Nevada The Art of SelfExposure
185
Catastrophism and the Evolution of Environment
229
In the Lena Delta Arctic Tragedy and American Imperialism
273
The Cruise of the Corwin Nature Natives Nation
305
The Grounding of American Environmentalism
338
Acknowledgments
359
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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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