The Ecology of Eden

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Vintage Books, 1999 - Nature - 612 pages
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"Dazzling . . . a prose epic." --The Washington Post

A mountain peak, a rolling pasture, a boulevard alive with sound and light--each of us carries, deep inside, a dream of paradise. In this magisterial contribution to the literature of ecology and the environment, our nostalgia for the myth of paradise--the primeval, self-sufficient, nurturing garden where mankind was born--is the starting point of a brilliant inquiry into what our place in Nature has been and ought to be.

Writing in lively, imaginative prose and drawing deftly upon disciplines as varied as biology, geology, anthropology, history, physics, and music, Evan Eisenberg examines the ways in which people have envisioned and tried to re-create the earthly paradise even as they have dealt with the often disastrous effects of their increasing manipulation of the environment. An encyclopedic survey of efforts to heal the dangerous rift between culture and nature, The Ecology of Eden is a landmark work that is enormously suggestive, informative, and a joy to read.

"It's a question many writers have tackled, from Paul Ehrlich to E. O. Wilson: How can we survive while population grows, resources dwindle . . . and the threat of global climate change looms ominously? Few have explored it with more originality or historic sweep. . . . A rich harvest, filled with many kernels of wisdom about the future of our elusive Eden."
--San Francisco Chronicle

"An ambitious, thickly braided narrative that makes the clearest bid to nudge the dialectic along. . . . Eisenberg traces the story engagingly, energetically, with a remarkable breadth of learning and a metaphor-maker's eye. . . . A vision of substance and genuine insight." -Los Angeles Times Book Review

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An unsuccessful synthesis of the natural history of mankind, and of the history of mankind in nature, —real and imagined.— Eisenberg examines scientific, historical, anthropological, and theological ... Read full review

The ecology of Eden

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Many world cultures have myths about a golden age when people lived in perfect harmony with their environment. In each, though, humanity was expelled from paradise. Eisenberg explores what this says ... Read full review

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About the author (1999)

Evan Eisenberg lives in western Massachusetts.

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