The Golden Spruce""is the story of a glorious natural wonder, the man who destroyed it, and the fascinating, troubling context in which his act took place. A tree with luminous glowing needles, the golden spruce was unique, a mystery that biologically speaking should never have reached maturity; Grant Hadwin, the man who cut it down, was ...
The Golden Spruce""is the story of a glorious natural wonder, the man who destroyed it, and the fascinating, troubling context in which his act took place. A tree with luminous glowing needles, the golden spruce was unique, a mystery that biologically speaking should never have reached maturity; Grant Hadwin, the man who cut it down, was passionate, extraordinarily well-suited to wilderness survival, and to some degree unbalanced. But as John Vaillant shows in this gripping and perceptive book, the extraordinary tree stood at the intersection of contradictory ways of looking at the world; the conflict between them is one reason it was destroyed. Taking in history, geography, science and spirituality, this book raises some of the most pressing questions facing society today. The golden spruce stood in the Queen Charlotte Islands, an unusually rich ecosystem where the normal lines between species blur, a place where "the patient observer will find that trees are fed by salmon [and] eagles can swim." The islands' beauty and strangeness inspire a more personal and magical experience of nature than western society is usually given to. Without romanticizing, Vaillant shows that this understanding is typified by the Haida, the native people who have lived there for millennia and know the land as Haida Gwaii - and for whom the golden spruce was an integral part of their history and mythology. But seen a different way, the golden spruce stood in block 6 of Tree Farm License 39, a tract owned by the Weyerhaeuser forest products company. It survived in an isolated "set-aside" amidst a landscape ravaged by logging. Grant Hadwin had worked as a remote scout for timber companies; with his ease in the wild he excelled at his job, much of which was spent in remote stretches of the temperate rain forest, plotting the best routes to extract lumber. But over time Hadwin was pushed into a paradox: the better he was at his job, the more the world he loved was destroyed. It seems he was ultimately unable to bear the contradiction. On the night of January 20, 1997, with the temperature near zero, Hadwin swam across the Yakoun river with a chainsaw. Another astonishing physical feat followed: alone, in darkness, he tore expertly into the golden spruce - a tree more than two metres in diameter - leaving it so unstable that the first wind would push it over. A few weeks later, having inspired an outpouring of grief and public anger, Hadwin set off in a kayak across the treacherous Hecate Strait to face court charges. He has not been heard from since. Vaillant describes Hadwin's actions in engrossing detail, but also provides the complex environmental, political and economic context in which they took place. This fascinating book describes the history of the Haida's contacts with European traders and settlers, drawing parallels between the 19th century economic bubble in sea otter pelts - and its eventual implosion - and today's voracious logging trade. The wood products industry is examined objectively and in depth; Vaillant explores the influence of logging not only on the British Columbia landscape but on the course of western civilization, from the expansion of farming in Europe to wood's essential importance to the Great Powers' imperial navies to the North American "axe age." Along the way, The Golden Spruce""includes evocative portraits of one of the world's most unusual land- and seascapes, riveting descriptions of Haida memorial rites, and a lesson in the difficulty and danger of felling giant trees. Thrilling and instructive though it may be, The Golden Spruce confronts the reader with troubling questions. John Vaillant asks whether Grant Hadwin destroyed the golden spruce because - as a beautiful "mutant" preserved while the rest of the forest was devastated - it embodied society's self-contradictory approach to nature, the paradox that harrowed him. Anyone who claims to respect the environment but lives in modern soci
Like New in Like New jacket. An exceptional hardcover with a crisp dust jacket, a tight binding and an unmarked text. First edition, with a full number line. From a private smoke free collection. Shipping within 24 hours, tracking number and delivery Confirmation.
Like New. First Edition. A nice hardcover with a crisp dust jacket, a tight binding and an unmarked text. From a private smoke free collection. Shipping within 24 hours, tracking number and delivery Confirmation.
Near Fine in Near Fine dust jacket. 067697645X. A Good Read ships from Toronto and Niagara Falls, NY-customers outside of North America please allow two to three weeks for delivery. PO name in ink on ffep. Inscribed by author to previous owner. A few wrinkles on edges of d/j.; 9.10 X 6.30 X 0.90 inches; Signed by Author.
Very Good+ in Very Good+, Not Price Clipped jacket. Book. Signed by Author(s) First edition, first printing as evidenced by a complete number line from 1 to 10; signed by John Vaillant on the title page with no inscription; minor edge wear; otherwise a solid, clean copy in collectable condition; dust jacket is protected by a Brodart sleeve.
[0-676-97645-X] 2005, 1st Canadian. (Hardcover) Fine in fine dust jacket. xiii, 256 pp. Black cloth with gilt title on spine in a fine dust jacket. Octavo with black and white ilustrations in text. An extraordinary true story of obsession, destruction and survival set on the outer reaches of Canada's Pacific Coast. Winner of the 2005 Governor General's Award for Non-Fiction and the Writers' Trust Non-Fiction Prize.
Very Good in Very Good jacket. 8vo. Signed by the Author pp. 256, SIGNED by the author on the title page, "The felling of a celebrated giant golden spruce tree in British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Islands takes on a potent symbolism in this probing study of an unprecedented act of eco-vandalism. First-time author Vaillant, who originally wrote about the death of the spruce for the New Yorker, profiles the culprit, an ex-logger turned messianic environmentalist who toppled the famous tree—the only one of its kind—to protest the destruction of British Columbia's old-growth forest, then soon vanished mysteriously. Vaillant also explores the culture and history of the Haida Indians who revered the tree, and of the logging industry that often expresses an elegiac awe for the ancient trees it is busily clear-cutting. Writing in a vigorous, evocative style, Vaillant portrays the Pacific Northwest as a region of conflict and violence, from the battles between Europeans and Indians over the 18th-century sea otter trade to the hard-bitten, macho milieu of the logging camps, where grisly death is an occupational hazard. It is also, in his telling, a land of virtually infinite natural resources overmatched by an even greater human rapaciousness. Through this archetypal story of "people fail[ing] to see the forest for the tree, " Vaillant paints a haunting portrait of man's vexed relationship with nature."
A mystery. What a great way to learn about the lumber industry, from the hillside to the big office players. Include an insightful dose of culture from the Queen Charlotte Islands. Add an eccentric character. My family & I found it captivating & well researched.
Aug 9, 2007
Something For Everyone
Not being a fan of historical books I was pleasantly surprised at just how entertaining this story is. While there is a huge amount of information and background on the logging and forest industry in BC the writing is crisp and the tale an intriguing one. John Vaillant has obviously done his homework and presents the results of his research in a straightforward manner, allowing readers in many instances to draw their own conclusions. And he could not have chosen a more intriguing character than Grant Hadwin, a man who objected passionately to the unrestrained destruction of these magnificent forests. While you may strongly disagree with Hadwin's method of protest you can't help but sympathize with the message he was trying to convey. A thoroughly enjoyable, well-written and thought-provoking narrative concerning issues that are just as relevant today .
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