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Landscapes of Promise: The Oregon Story, 1800-1940 (Weyerhaeuser Environmental Books) (英語) ペーパーバック – 1999/12

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"Landscapes of Promise" is the first comprehensive environmental history of the early years of a state that has long been associated with environmental protection. Covering the period from early human habitation to the end of World War II, William Robbins shows that the reality of Oregon's environmental history involves far more than a discussion of timber cutting and land-use planning. Robbins demonstrates that ecological change is not only a creation of modern industrial society. Native Americans altered their environment in a number of ways, including the planned annual burning of grasslands and light-burning of understory forest debris.Early Euro-American settlers who thought they were taming a virgin wilderness were merely imposing a new set of alterations on an already modified landscape. Beginning with the first 18th-century traders on the Pacific Coast, alterations to Oregon's landscape were closely linked to the interests of global market forces. Robbins uses period speeches and publications to document the increasing commodification of the landscape and its products. 'Environment melts before the man who is in earnest', wrote one Oregon booster in 1905, reflecting prevailing ways of thinking.In an impressive synthesis of primary sources and historical analysis, Robbins traces the transformation of the Oregon landscape and the evolution of our attitudes toward the natural world. William Robbins is distinguished professor of history at Oregon State University. He is the author of "Hard Times in Paradise: A History of Coos County, Oregon" and "Colony and Empire: The Capitalist Transformation of the American West".


"William G. Robbins offers a multilayered story that is as richly textured as the landscape he treats. The book's breadth ranges from the general level of the myths by which people shape and sustain their world view, values, and actions to the ecological specifics of concrete places as the author traces the interaction between Oregon's human and natural worlds. Landscapes of Promise is a well-told narrative in which the older simple, linear, heroic success story gives way to a richer history filled with diversity, complexity, tragedy, and irony". -- Journal of American History



More than we ever believe, the writer Raymond Williams observed, "we understand life from where we are." 最初のページを読む
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3 人中、2人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
A different perspective on Oregon history 2012/6/20
投稿者 author - (
形式: ペーパーバック
This book is thoroughly researched, with an impressive bibliography that is valuable to the student of Oregon history. Robbins' writing is a bit wordy and jargon-burdened at times, but he convincingly supports his thesis.
2 人中、0人の方が、「このレビューが参考になった」と投票しています。
More about Robbins' Bias than anything else 2014/1/27
投稿者 Northwest Reader - (
形式: ペーパーバック Amazonで購入
I too began this book with great "promise," but within a few pages, it was obvious that this book was less about history than a crypto-Marxist diatribe against white settlers (when they came to the Oregon Country in the 19th-century). The motif is easy to spot: whites brought their "ethics of intrusion" into a paradise, and ruined everything with capitalism, greed, & corruption. For some reason (never explained) when the "Natives" burned the valley to create openings in the forest, and thousands of tons of pollutants spewed into the skies, that catastrophe is never mentioned! In fact, Native peoples can apparently do no wrong, while Robbins calls the whites "intrusive" at least 26 times!! (pp. 3, 5, 8, 12-13, 14, 15, etc.). And of course whites are "Euro-Americans" despite the fact that these settlers had no contact with Europe, and neither did the vast majority of their own parents. It would be much later before that immigration would take place. Robbins is of course engaging in the typical labeling popular now amongst historians: white settlers are labeled "Euro-Americans" to make sure the reader knows where their ideas and philosophy (supposedly come from). This is a tired practice that needs to go away.

Robbins of course enjoys all the benefits of the "intrusive" ethics of the whites, including about all the perks of white privilege one can get. But apparently that was all

One is also struck by all the instances in which Robbins uses quotes (" ") when whites "improve" the land, but no such quotation marks are EVER used when Natives transforms the land (see pp. 6, 34, 72, 74, 91, 95, esp. 100).

The audience deserved much, much better from someone who supposedly knows better. This reads like a screed against the very philosophy and western civ that gave all the advantages that we all enjoy (and Robbins tenure!). Did many whites pollute the land and destroy large sections of the environment? Of course! Welcome to junior high civics. But balance is called for: it is insane to ask 19th-century white settlers to have the same kind of attitudes as "enlightened" "progressives." This book reads like a Jeremiad written by a grad student trying to sneak in attacks against the "bad" capitalists--not a book written by someone with Robbins' track record. If you want to engage in self-flagellation against the "Euro-Americans," by all means, pick this book. If you want a balanced, insightful, thoughtful treatment of what happened in the PNW when white settlers came to the land and dealt with it, go elsewhere. Extremely disappointing to say the least.
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