ENCOUNTERS WITH THE ARCHDRUID III-A RIVER. By John McPhee · April 3, P. The New Yorker, April 3, P. PROFILE of. Encounters with the Archdruid has ratings and reviews. Tony said: David Brower was an extreme conservationist. His ‘religion’ was wilderness. B. Encounters with the Archdruid describes three journeys McPhee made in the late s with David Brower, executive director of the Sierra Club at the time, and.

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If you really want to dig into western water debates, a good pairing with Cadillac Desert, whose footnotes sent me here. Paperbackpages. That is, the political reachings of “tree huggers” and rabid anti-developers.

Jul 12, rachel rated it really liked it. We need an economics of peaceful stability. Dominy and the ranchers and farmers built a thousand dams in one year, and when they were finished there wasn’t a thirsty cow from Jew Jake’s Saloon to the Montana border. The interplay between passion and character is fascinating, as all the men are reasonable and driven and opinionated, but also able to interact with each other respectfully. I believe in wilderness for itself alone. His ‘religion’ was wilderness.

Reading McPhee was my journalism education. McPhee’s catalog of these conflicts between the growing needs of society and the shrinking wilderness “pre-saged” what would become known as “wise use”, or prescriptions for use that balance the rhe value of the environment against societal needs. One of the funniest characters I’ve ever read about performs with Brower in a final chapter that you simply can not help but read through fast paced. It’s certainly possible that McPhee sways towards the former.

This, however, was — as Fraser apparently did not grasp — no ordinary member of the priesthood.

Encounters with the Archdruid by John McPhee

What made this book fascinating is that Brower’s antagonists clearly love nature, and encoujters have a closer connection to and deeper intimacy with the wilderness and wildlife than does your average person and far, far more than I do, unrepentant archdrudi as I am.

The book is divided into three sections–each is a conversation between Brower and one of his “natural enemies. The founder and excommunicated leader of the Sierra Club, David Brower, is to me an uninspiring, mopey, and at times infuriating character.


Environmental champion whose passion founded Friends of the Earth”. McPhee follows Brower and Frasier around Cumberland Island, a emcounters inhabited island off the cost of Georgia that Fraiser wants to turn into another Sea Pines style resort, and relays for the reader the two men wrangling over how to develop the island to best protect Cumberland’s apparently stunning wilderness.

Thanks for telling us about the problem. And yet, though the book shows its age, it’s a marvelous look back, a tantalizing reminder of what was. However, Wilson’s and MacArthur’s The Theory of Island Biogeography had already been out and making waves for a number of years when the events McPhee chronicles took place.

McPhee so clearly burns with love and wonder for humans and nature alike, he seems to hold equal respect for conservationists and industrialists, he identifies with precision and poignancy both human hubris and human ingenuity.

Although each of the developers expects Brower to have horns and a tail and vice versa what we see is intelligent committed individuals arguing their case cogently and mostly with respect.

McPhee follows Dominy, Brower, and a coterie of others on a rafting expedition down the Colorado River and into the Grand Canyon, a part of which Dominy had wanted to dam and turn into a reservoir the scheme was defeated, in no small part thanks to Brower. The Great Drought and the Great Depression had coincided, and the people of the county were destitute. Jan 12, David Robertus rated it it was amazing.

John McPhee’s writing could weave a page story that you’d be hooked to from a blade of grass growing between a flower and a honey bee. Interesting and well written book about David Brower’s history, views, relationship with the Sierra Club, as well as the interaction and collective mindset with three preservation antagonists.

Those criticisms aside, if for no other reason than to meet Floyd Dominy, you must read this book. Their livestock, with black tongues and protruding ribs, were dying because of lack of water.

Encounters with the Archdruid – Wikipedia

The magic of Glen Canyon is dead. Apr 06, Philip Palios rated it really liked it. Brower hikes in the Cascades with the mineral engineer; rncounters camps out on Cumberland Island with the resort developer; and he goes rafting through the Grand Canyo David Brower was an extreme conservationist. The oven is off. On the beach, I could have stopped all day long and looked at those damned shells, looked for all the messages that come not in bottles but in shells. My first encounter with John McPhee, and a memorable one.


This book is a step back in time to the origins of archdruiv American environmentalism. While this may not be a book I would have picked up myself, I am glad my son-in-law, Ben, gave it to me to read. Being somewhat familiar with the characters of Floyd Dominy and David Brower, I thought it was a joke that they would be rafting down the Colorado River together, and I had to read this story for myself.

If we don’t do those two things, we’re pretty clearly screwed. The first “encounter” struck me as a sort of masterwork in characterization and observation. As a way of looking back at where we’ve come in the hopes of understand where we’re going, I would consider this book a must-read for anyone interested in the natural world eith the environment. A mountain that has yet to yield its store of copper to humanity is of highly questionable value. McPhee’s well-crafted prose make reading this a breeze, so check it out!

Joined by a mineral expert Parka land developer Fraserand a the commissioner of the department of reclamation DominyMcPhee recounts the life and times of David Brower as the great conservationist tries to show and preserve the beauty of the mountains, islands, and rivers that have yet to be transformed by man for his own needs.

These are people who believe that human beings are a part of wilderness, and have a right to enjoy it and benefit from it as members of the community of species. Displaying only some of the reserve and pragmatism of the previous two figures, Dominy relished the damming of rivers, while Brower considered damming the ultimate offense. War is waged over resources.

Encounters with the Archdruid

The lake will create a different kind of beauty while irrigating farms, the dam builder said. As it is, arfhdruid, Non-fiction: May 28, Mark Greenbaum rated it it was amazing.

He cannot think of it without melancholy, for he sincerely believes that its very existence is his fault. Return to Book Page.