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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You are commenting using your Twitter account. Brower’s foes here are all outdoorsmen in their own right yet fundamentally differ with him through their essential belief in the primacy of practicality when it comes to natural resources.

The fact that humanity’s actions have a far greater impact on the environment than other species is counter balanced, in their minds, by humanity’s ingenuity in mitigating environmental risks. Dominy and Brower travel together on a raft down the Colorado River beginning at the newly-dedicated Glenn Canyon dam and ending at a proposed dam site.

Feeling My Way Along: Encounters with the Archdruid #1

To me, they are preservationists, not conservationists. What John McPhee did, in the three parts enncounters this book, was to contrive meetings between Brower and each of these three. I’m still not sure how much of it is true, but I particularly enjoyed the presentation of the drastically-different opinions in a mostly-unbiased manner.

I am currently also reading Cadillac Desert, and wanted to read this first as the third section with Floyd Dominy was great preparation.

Favorite Quotes: John McPhee – Encounters with the Archdruid

I suppose it shows how the current political rhetoric has shaped my mind to believe that inflexibility of differing opinions is the norm, consequently result 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.

Jun 05, Rex Fuller rated it it was amazing. McPhee’s book is as essential now to an understanding of the basic differences between conservationists and their opponents as it was when it first appeared in A recommended read, especially for conservationists or those opposing them.

McPhee’s account of the conversations between environmentalist David Brower and three representatives of development may be 40 years old, but the issues it sets out are still surprisingly relevant. These radical uncertainties were eventually removed by groundwater development, reclamation–the storage of what water there was, for use in irrigation.

McPhee reveals more nuances of the value revolution that dominates the new age of ecology than most writers could pack into a volume twice as long. Jan 19, John Lingan added it Shelves: And McPhee contrives all the “encounters” in the book, which in itself comes across as cheap sensationalism.


Jan 26, Jeff rated it it was amazing.

It would have been so easy for this short book to present binaries of eco-good and anthro-evil. If you really want to dig into western water debates, a good pairing with Cadillac Desert, whose footnotes sent me here. Box’s Joe Pickett character read. McPhee’s well-crafted prose make reading this a breeze, so check it out!

John Muir, preservationist, founder of the young Sierra Club, had lost this bitter and, as it happened, final struggle of his life. Encounters with the Archdruid is a narrative nonfiction book archdruidd author John McPhee. Charles Park, one of the world’s foremost minerologist profiled in the first essay, comes across as a man encoynters has lived the majority of his life in nature, and has an encyclopedic knowledge of flora, fauna, and geology from throughout the world.

No answers emerge from tbe book: The greatest scourges are hydroelectric dams, mining, and housing developments. We’re committing grand larceny against our children. The very first paragraph makes this painfully clear. Oct 12, Bryan rated it it was amazing Shelves: When did I get so attuned to that? David Brower was an extreme conservationist.

He’s a aechdruid environmentalist with a gift for PR who fights a never-ending battle against the government, developers, miners, and even humanity at large in his quest to keep as much of America as possible out of the reach of man forever, and McPhee — whose writing talent is truly impressive — allows Brower and his nemeses to explain themselves and their views on nature at length in flawless, crystalline prose.

We have a great tale, and an even-handed one too: Mar 11, Matt rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: Read this book, and then go read all of John McPhee’s books. Their livestock, with black tongues and protruding ribs, were dying because of lack of water. Ours is a chain letter economy, in which we pick up early handsome dividends and our children find their mailbox empty.

The section on Charles Fraser, the iconoclastic developer of Hilton Head, South Carolina, is genuinely interesting, even if it is as much a set-up as the Brower section. McPhee follows Brower and Frasier around Cumberland Island, a barely inhabited island off the witg 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.


Apr 23, Jim Corson rated it it was ok. In this book, creative nonfiction master John McPhee narrates a number of Brower’s ‘encounters’ with various similarly visionary oppo The Archdruid of the title is David Brower, ousted first Executive Director of the Sierra Club, and the man who in the early s was largely responsible for halting the Echo Park Dam project at the confluence of the Green and Yampa rivers thus saving Dinosaur National Monumentthe act of which symbolically launched the modern conservation movement in the U.

In three parts, mountain, island, and river, McPhee recounts his journeys with David Brower, ejected former leader of the Sierra Club. The physical challenges necessitated cooperation. Someday we are going to have to choose.

Humiliating nature, a dam is evil — placed and solid. He’s smart and he’s fair and he’s a damn good writer.

Encounters with the Archdruid – Wikipedia

Reductio ad absurdum of the American penchant for reducing all politics to personalities, then setting off two diametrically opposed people to create the illusion of objectivity. The oven is off. The things that Brower rails against, hydroelectric dams being his biggest bugbear, now seem quaint when we face the threat of global climate change and dams represent a cleaner, carbon neutral power source compared to fossil fuels.

More to come when I have time. The Archdruid of the title is David Brower, ousted first Executive Director of the Sierra Club, and the man who in the early s was largely responsible for halting the Echo Park Dam project at the confluence of the Green and Yampa rivers thus saving Dinosaur National Monumentthe act of which symbolically launched the modern conservation movement in the U.

Very thought-provoking, and McPhee is an absolutely superb writer. McPhee is an extremely talented writer and in his now classic work of environmental literature he presents the issues with the complex analysis they deserve.

But I literally fell asleep reading this in the first chapter and had to rest my eyes a few times in the second chapter. Want to Read Currently Reading Read. Kudos to McPhee for skillfully capturing a moment in time that continues to resonate profoundly today.