This Missouri-born son of German immigrants contributed to many fields, with a versatility rare in his time and virtually unknown today. Sauer explored plant and animal domestication, the entry of Native Americans into the continent, their transformation of the land into prairies and cultivated fields, and subsequent European enterprise that fuelled prosperity but also triggered environmental degradation and the loss of cultural diversity. Providing profound and invaluable insights into the human occupance, cultivation--and often ruination--of the earth, Sauer revolutionized our understanding of the impact of European conquest of the New World.
Author and fellow geographer Michael Williams had access to Sauer's voluminous correspondence in the Bancroft Library at Berkeley and in family collections. Enlivened by these intimate letters to family and colleagues, To Pass On a Good Earth reveals the rare qualities of mind and heart that made Sauer one of America's most treasured--as well as troubled--intellectual pioneers. He brought both historical rigor and humanistic understanding to the burgeoning environmental movement and ceaselessly championed an ecumenical approach in an age of increasing specialization.
Publisher: University of Virginia Press
Number of pages: 256
Weight: 535 g
Dimensions: 229 x 152 x 19 mm
This is both a biography and an exposition of the work by a man who, in his day, was a towering figure. It is based on an amazing amount of research in the papers, letters, and files of Sauer. Williams wrote extensively on aspects of Sauer, but this book brings together his phenomenal knowledge of the man and his many fields of endeavor.--John R. Gillis, Rutgers University, author of Islands of the Mind: How the Human Imagination Created the Atlantic World
Sauer was a giant in geography and well known outside his field. Williams's biography helps us to understand not only the individuals and institutions that influenced Sauer and his work but also the links between trends in the academy and events in the broader world. His story is often fascinating.--Edmund Russell, University of Kansas, author of Evolutionary History: Uniting History and Biology to Understand Life on Earth
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