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The Everglades: River of Grass (1947)

af Marjory Stoneman Douglas

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Serier: Rivers of America (33)

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312862,716 (4.21)18
Before 1947, when Marjory Stoneman Douglas named The Everglades a "river of grass," most people considered the area worthless. She brought the world's attention to the need to preserve the Everglades. In the new and updated Afterword, Michael Grunwald again tells us what has happened to them since then. Grunwald points out that in 1947 the government was in the midst of establishing the Everglades National Park and turning loose the Army Corps of Engineers to control floods--both of which seemed like saviors for the Glades. But neither turned out to be the answer. Working from the research he did for his book, The Swamp, Grunwald offers an account of what went wrong and the many attempts to fix it, beginning with Save Our Everglades, which Douglas declared was "not nearly enough." Grunwald then lays out the intricacies (and inanities) of the more recent and ongoing CERP, the hugely expensive Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan.… (mere)
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Viser 1-5 af 8 (næste | vis alle)
I was somewhat disappointed, but I should say right now that this was very-well written and parts – especially in the first chapter – were quite poetic. But I had been hoping for a book about the ecology of the Everglades and the movement to preserve it, and instead of natural history this focused almost exclusively on human history, although several chapters near the end did discuss some of the conservation issues. The book included some vividly gory accounts of people dying in bloody massacres (and they weren’t even quotes from primary sources), and I found them sickening enough that I almost put this on my did-not-finish shelf. A few parts seemed to drag for me as well. However, in fairness I cannot say this was a bad book, only that it was not for me.

That said, I did come across several passages I especially enjoyed, and I would have been thrilled if the entire book had gone on in this vein:

“The great piles of vapor from the Gulf Stream, amazing cumulus clouds that soar higher than tropic mountains from their even bases four thousand feet above the horizon, stand in ranked and glistening splendor in those summer nights; twenty thousand feet or more they tower tremendous, cool-pearl, frosty heights, blue-shadowed in the blue-blazing days.” (Page 17).

“The water is timeless, forever new and eternal. Only the rock, which time shaped and will outlast, records unimaginable ages.” (Page 33).
( )
  Jennifer708 | Mar 21, 2020 |
An interesting book, but it wasn't what I thought based on the recommendation. A bit of history, a bit of science, a sprinkling of hope--mostly dashed. It goes to show how far mankind has come...and unfortunately how much, much further we need to go on issues like living with the natural Everglades. ( )
  dpevers | Mar 16, 2020 |
I once spent a couple days birding in the Everglades and I picked up this book at the visitor center on my way out. I wish I had read it before I got to Florida. ( )
  dele2451 | Nov 6, 2019 |
I read this book years ago and just recently reread it. Written in 1947. Timeless history of the Everglades. Excellent book. A beautiful history of the environment. ( )
  loraineo | Jul 7, 2019 |
Its endlessness an ache against the eyes
The sawgrass marches on to meet the skies
The gaunt and twisted mangrove-root parades
The vastness men have called the Everglades,

from Everglades by Vivian Yeiser Laramore Rader (1931)
(I found this poem in Florida in Poetry, edited by Jane A. Jones & Maurice O’Sullivan)

5. The Everglades : River of Grass (Special 50th Anniversary Edition) by Marjory Stoneman Douglas (1947, 458 pages, read Jan 21 – Feb 19)
(Illustrated by Robert Fink. Revised 1978. 40 year update by Randy Lee Loftis with MS Douglas, 1988. 50 year update by Cyril Zaneski, 1997)

I simply lack the correct words to describe this. At the most basic this is a both a description and a history of the Everglades. The history begins with the geology of their formation, and carries on through the known native inhabitants, the Spanish explorers, “three hundred quiet years”, the Seminole Wars, the disastrous attempts to drain the Everglades, the first massive influxes of people in the early 20th-century, to, finally, the brink of the disastrous work by the Corps of Engineers in 1947. MSD wrote this before the Corps began their work. An updated history of the Corps doings and its consequences, the slow efforts to undo what they did, and all the other problems condemning the Everglades is covered in a two lengthy afterwards for the 40-year and 50-year anniversaries of the book.

There is much to be said for the human history of the Everglades. Each stage feels like forgotten history, and yet through MSD each is fascinating. The Spanish adventures and failures are as interesting as those “three hundred quiet years” when the English colonies flourished, rebelled, expanded and few white men entered any deeper into the South Florida than the sparsely populated coast. The pyrrhic success of the Seminoles in the Seminoles wars are as beautiful as the dynamite blowing holes in Miami’s coastal ridge was tragic.

MSD’s writing has an elegance and texture that I want to say feels like the late 1940s-early 1950’s, except that I really have no clue whether that is true. She is a bit flowery for non-fiction, but in a way that works beautifully if you have some time and patience. She has a way of keeping her words impartial, but at the same time her tone has a desperate urgency to it. This was a call to save the Everglades by celebrating what they are and were.

This is all informal, with few footnotes (there is a somewhat extensive, but not updated bibliography). It is probably the starting point on the Everglades.

2011
http://www.librarything.com/topic/104839#2595562 ( )
1 stem dchaikin | Mar 24, 2011 |
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Marjory Stoneman Douglasprimær forfatteralle udgaverberegnet
Fink, RobertIllustratormedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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To the memory of my father, who gave me Florida
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There are no other Everglades in the world.
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[I]n all those years of talk and excitement about drainage, the only argument was a schoolboy's logic. The drainage of the Everglades would be a Great American Thing. Americans did Great Things. Therefore Americans would drain the Everglades. Beyond that - to the intricate and subtle relation of soil, of fresh water and evaporation, and of runoff and salt intrusion, and all the consequences of disturbing the fine balance nature had set up in the past four thousand years - no one knew enough to look. They saw the Everglades no longer as a vast expanse of saw grass and water, but as a dream, a mirage of riches that many men would follow to their ruin.
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Before 1947, when Marjory Stoneman Douglas named The Everglades a "river of grass," most people considered the area worthless. She brought the world's attention to the need to preserve the Everglades. In the new and updated Afterword, Michael Grunwald again tells us what has happened to them since then. Grunwald points out that in 1947 the government was in the midst of establishing the Everglades National Park and turning loose the Army Corps of Engineers to control floods--both of which seemed like saviors for the Glades. But neither turned out to be the answer. Working from the research he did for his book, The Swamp, Grunwald offers an account of what went wrong and the many attempts to fix it, beginning with Save Our Everglades, which Douglas declared was "not nearly enough." Grunwald then lays out the intricacies (and inanities) of the more recent and ongoing CERP, the hugely expensive Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan.

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