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Thoreau's Country


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About the Author

David R. Foster is Director of the Harvard Forest in Petersham, Massachusetts, and teaches ecology at Harvard University. He is the author of New England Forests through Time (Harvard).


Foster teaches ecology at Harvard University and is the director of the Harvard Forest. This book results from his 1977 trip to northern Vermont to build a cabin in the woods. He took along assorted reading material, including the journals of Henry David Thoreau, who had constructed his own cabin at Walden Pond well over a century before. As Foster, indicates in his preface, much of the New England landscape that Thoreau knew has since been naturally reclaimed by forest owing to social change and population shifts from country to city as well as changes in agriculture and industry. Foster quotes liberally from Thoreaus original journal entries as he comments on New England and its characteristics before and since Thoreaus day. Foster discusses the regions cultural landscape, woodlands, forests, and wildlife then and now. More than an analysis of Thoreau, this is a commentary on change and the role humans play in shaping the landscape. A thoughtful, very readable volume; recommended for both academic and public libraries.William H. Wiese, Iowa State Univ. Lib., Ames

"[Foster] is a clear-eyed interpreter of the so-called hermit of Concord... [His] fine book lays the groundwork for a conservation ethic that is realistic, practical and-as it must be-sympathetic to human culture and informed by human history." -Chet Raymo, Boston Globe

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