So Great a Vision: The Conservation Writings of George Perkins Marsh

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Diplomat, linguist, politician, and naturalist, Vermonter George Perkins Marsh was a 19th-century polymath who is now widely considered the father of the modern conservation movement. Marsh was the first man to recognize the extent and destructiveness of the human impact on the environment, and his 1864 book, Man and Nature; or, Physical Geography as Modified by Human Action, has been described by the Washington Post as "the wellspring of the environmental movement."

While Man and Nature continues to be cited and read, Marsh's earlier, groundbreaking writings on environmental topics have been unavailable (even though they may be more accessible to modern readers than his sometimes obtuse magnum opus). In an invaluable service to those interested in the development of environmental thought, Stephen C. Trombulak has gathered into a single volume Marsh's most significant conservation writings -- including key passages from Man and Nature -- and has annotated them in the light of contemporary conservation thinking. These speeches, letters, and reports not only document the development of Marsh's own ideas, they also offer insight into the state of conservation thinking in the early 19th century.

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Address Delivered before the Agricultural Society of
Lectures Delivered before the Smithsonian Institution
Oration before the New Hampshire State Agricultural
Society October 101856
Vermont on the Artificial Propagation of Fish 1857
Its Evils Remedies and the Compensations 1874
Transfer Modification and Extirpation of
Vegetable and of Animal Species
The Waters
The Sands
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About the author (2001)

Born in Vermont and educated at Dartmouth College, GEORGE PERKINS MARSH (1801 - 1882) was a lawyer, politician, and linguist. He wrote an important work on the origins of the English language and was widely recognized as the greatest Scandinavian scholar in North America. Representing Vermont in the US Congress, he served on the committee that organized the Smithsonian Institution and made substantial donations to its holdings throughout his life. He served as US Minister to Turkey, and later as the first US Minister to Italy, a post he held for the last 21 years of his life.

STEPHEN C. TROMBULAK, Professor of Biology and Environmental Studies at Middlebury College, is coauthor of The Story of Vermont (1999) and coeditor of The Future of the Northern Forest (1994). He is a member of the Board of Editors for Northeastern Naturalist and of the Board of Directors for Vermont Family Forests.

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