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Fleeting Moments: Nature and Culture in American Historyby Gunther Paul Barth
Synopses & Reviews
The tension between nature and culture, which accompanies the rise of any large society, has become a subject of great concern in our time. In this compelling study, Gunther Barth, acclaimed author of City People: The Rise of Modern City Culture in Nineteenth-Century America, identifies fleeting moments of concord between nature and culture in the course of American history. During the search for the Wilderness Passage, the progress of the Lewis and Clark expedition, and the building of park cemeteries and big city parks, Americans realized that nature was not merely a force to be reckoned with, not merely a resource to be exploited, but also an integral component of their lives. Through the engineering of nature and culture in the urban environment, the energetic attempts to conserve large-scale nature in the United States emerged as an offspring of the big city. Heightening our understanding of the historical complexity of the relationship between nature and culture, and suggesting that harmony between the two is a mark of civilization, this original study will be an invaluable guide to anyone concerned with the quality of life in America, past and future.
A look at the relationship between nature and culture in American history to 1900, from the search for the Northwest Passage, through the expedition of Lewis and Clark, to a final section showing how nature was adapted to urban settings such as Central Park.
The tension between nature and culture that accompanies the rise of any large society has become a subject of great concern in our time. America in particular has adhered to a cultural mission that accentuates the potential for conflict, building a nation within the span of a century on the exploitation of gigantic resources. In this compelling study, the author identifies fleeting moments of concord between nature and culture in the course of American history.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 190-215) and index.
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