Natural Man

From The New York Times:

Cover-600 It is hard to believe today that there was a time when securing Pelican Island, Yosemite and the Grand Canyon were controversial decisions denounced as a federal land grab inimical to states’ rights and economic growth. Of course every generation has its own idea of progress, beauty and necessity. What made Theodore Roosevelt a conservationist hero was his conviction that pelicans, 2,000-year-old redwood trees and ancient rock formations belonged to future generations of Americans as well as to the past. Weighed against eternity, what were the arguments of mining magnates, plume hunters, local businesses and assorted congressmen? From the time he became president, in 1901, until he left office 100 years ago, Roosevelt saved over 234 million acres of wild America.

How a city-born child of privilege became one of the greatest forces in American conservation is the subject of Douglas Brinkley’s vast, inspiring and enormously entertaining book, “The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America.” The subtitle is telling — the crusade for America, not “wild America” — because for Roosevelt, living forests and petrified forests, bird preserves and buffalo ranges were essential for the country’s survival as a moral and military power.

More here.