Sunday, July 16, 2006

Michael Grunwald's "The Swamp."

Continuing with the weekend theme, here is a book I have been recommending to friends recently: Michael Grunwald's "The Swamp: The Everglades, Florida, and the Politics of Paradise" from Simon & Schuster (2006.) It is available in the Olin Library at call number F317 .E9 G78 2006. It is about the fight to first develop the Everglades, and later to protect them. Along the way Grunwald provides a lot of Florida history for a newbie like me. He also makes clear that development in the United States (and I am sure we are not unique in this) has proceed more often on the basis of greed, hubris, and a cozy relationship between political and economic power than manifest destiny, the invisible operation of market forces, or reasonable stewardship of our environment.

I came away from the book not knowing whether to lament how much of Florida's natural environment has be degraded and destroyed or to be heartened by how much has been saved. As someone who grew up in a country that had pretty much banished wilderness before the United States even came into existence, I am always astonished by the environmental richness that remains in this country.

I can't wait to explore.

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