Synopses & Reviews
“This is a brilliant, well-rounded biography of a Great American Hero. Never before has the full thrust of David Brower's life been so thoroughly examined.”
—Douglas Brinkley, Professor of History at Rice University and author of The Wilderness Warrior:Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America
“David Brower’s standing as one of the twentieth century’s most significant environmentalists was never in doubt. What this much-needed biography does is place him among the century’s most fascinating characters—one of those rare leaders who could not only envision the future but also conjure it into reality.”
—Michael Brune, Executive Director, Sierra Club
“Tom Turner has written a compelling—and long overdue—biography about one of the earth’s true heroes.”
—Lester R. Brown, President of the Earth Policy Institute and author of The Great Transition: Shifting from Fossil Fuels to Solar and Wind Energy
“As Tom Turner’s book clearly and powerfully conveys, David Brower was a trailblazer. He left a few gashes and scars, but so much of the wilderness and its tall trees stand because of Brower’s own towering courage.”
—Randy Hayes, Founder, Rainforest Action Network and Executive Director, Foundation Earth
“David Brower was a friend and, more important, is a hero of mine. He was one of the greatest pioneering defenders of the environment—a Rachel Carson of wilderness and biodiversity. This lively and fascinating book tells his story beautifully and is long overdue.”
—Paul Ehrlich, author of The Population Bomb
“With great skill and narrative drive, Turner shows Brower’s crucial role in saving the natural world from dams, logging, mining, and a consumer economy.”
—Mark Harvey, author of Wilderness Forever: Howard Zahniser and the Path to the Wilderness Act
“As the father of the modern environmental movement and, more important, a friend of the earth, Brower pushed beyond whatever limit or obstacle presented itself. His vision and will catalyzed the evolution of environmental activism in United States and globally. His life is a testament to the fact that one person can truly make a difference.”
—Erich Pica, President, Friends of the Earth
In this first comprehensive authorized biography of David Brower, a dynamic leader in the environmental movement over the last half of the twentieth century, Tom Turner explores Brower's impact on the movement from its beginnings until his death in 2000.
Frequently compared to John Muir, David Brower was the first executive director of the Sierra Club, founded Friends of the Earth, and helped secure passage of the Wilderness Act, among other key achievements. Tapping his passion for wilderness and for the mountains he scaled in his youth, he was a central figure in the creation of the Point Reyes National Seashore and of the North Cascades and Redwood national parks. In addition, Brower worked tirelessly in successful efforts to keep dams from being built in Dinosaur National Monument and the Grand Canyon.
Tom Turner began working with David Brower in 1968 and remained close to him until Brower's death. As an insider, Turner creates an intimate portrait of Brower the man and the decisive role he played in the development of the environmental movement. Culling material from Brower's diaries, notebooks, articles, books, and published interviews, and conducting his own interviews with many of Brower's admirers, opponents, and colleagues, Turner brings to life one of the movement's most controversial and complex figures.
David Brower is one of the dominant figures in the environmental movement over the last half of the twentieth century. Frequently compared to John Muir, Brower was the first executive director of the Sierra Club, founded Friends of the Earth, and helped secure passage of the Wilderness Act. Tapping his passion for wilderness and especially the mountains he scaled in his youth, he was a key figure in the creation of the Point Reyes National Seashore, the North Cascades and Redwood National Parks, and was a central figure in successful efforts to keep dams from being built in Dinosaur National Monument and the Grand Canyon.
Until now there has been no comprehensive professional biography of this dynamic leader. This book looks back at his life and the impact he had on the environmental movement from its beginning until his death in 2000.
Tom Turner started working with David Brower in 1968 and remained close until Browers death, giving us an insiders look at the man and his decisive role inside the birth of the environmental movement. Turner has examined Browers diaries, notebooks, articles, books, and published interviews, and has conducted interviews with more than fifty of Browers admirers, enemies, and colleagues to develop a complete picture of this controversial and iconic figure.
About the Author
Tom Turner has worked at the Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth, the Sierra Club Legal Defense Fund, and Earthjustice. He is the author of Wild by Law, Sierra Club: 100 Years of Protecting Nature, Justice on Earth, Roadless Rules, and hundreds of articles and op-eds on the environment.
Table of Contents
Foreword by Bill McKibben
Prologue: A Tense Meeting in the Mountains
PART ONE: CLIMBER
1 From Berkeley to the Sierra: An Outdoorsman Is Born
3 Into the Sierra Club
4 Love and War
PART TWO: CAMPAIGNER
5 A Sierra Club Leader Emerges
6 The Battle Against Dams in Dinosaur
7 The Battle for Wilderness
PART THREE: VISIONARY
8 Big Books for a Cause
9 Growing Pains and Saving the Grand Canyon
10 Uncivil War
11 From Archdruid to Friend of the Earth
12 Friends of the Earth Takes on the World
13 A Resumption of Hostilities
PART FOUR: EVANGELIST
14 Back to the Sierra Club
15 The End of the Trail
Appendix: Books Published under the Editorial Direction of David R. Brower