To Pass On a Good Earth
The Life and Work of Carl O. Sauer
Publication Year: 2014
To Pass On a Good Earth is the candid and compelling new biography of one of the twentieth century’s most distinctive and influential scholars. The legendary "Great God beyond the Sierras," Carl Ortwin Sauer is America’s most famed geographer, an inspiration to both academics and poets, yet no book-length biography of him has existed until now.
This Missouri-born son of German immigrants contributed to many fields, with a versatility rare in his time and virtually unknown today. Sauer explored plant and animal domestication, the entry of Native Americans into the continent, their transformation of the land into prairies and cultivated fields, and subsequent European enterprise that fueled prosperity but also triggered environmental degradation and the loss of cultural diversity. Providing profound and invaluable insights into the human occupance, cultivation--and often ruination--of the earth, Sauer revolutionized our understanding of the impact of European conquest of the New World.
Author and fellow geographer Michael Williams had access to Sauer’s voluminous correspondence in the Bancroft Library at Berkeley and in family collections. Enlivened by these intimate letters to family and colleagues, To Pass On a Good Earth reveals the rare qualities of mind and heart that made Sauer one of America’s most treasured--as well as troubled--intellectual pioneers. He brought both historical rigor and humanistic understanding to the burgeoning environmental movement and ceaselessly championed an ecumenical approach in an age of increasing specialization.
Published by: University of Virginia Press
Title Page, Copyright
Download PDF (282.1 KB)
Download PDF (19.3 KB)
Download PDF (45.1 KB)
...came into being during Michael and Eleanore’s several tenures in my Berkeley home, a scant stone’s throw from Sauer’s, and an easy walk from the University of California campus, where Sauer was for more than half...
Download PDF (30.0 KB)
...Starrs have been particularly helpful and supportive. Diana discussed aspects of the manuscript with Michael when he was writing it. Paul provided penetrating insights on the continuing Sauerian tradition. Ellen FitzSimmons Porzig provided a large file of Sauer family photographs. John...
Download PDF (43.6 KB)
...School. Early on in our Bay Area sojourn I visited an old friend and fellow Welshman, David Hooson, who was then dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at Berkeley after having been a professor of geography there for nearly two decades. As we reminisced over lunch on the terrace of the...
Download PDF (36.7 KB)
...farming district just south of Highway 40, some fifty miles west of St. Louis. From his window he looked across the yard to the woodlot. Through the split-rail fence that surrounded it...
1 Warrenton of the Middle Border,1889 – 1908
Download PDF (81.3 KB)
...about ten to twelve blocks, aligned on either side of the commercial core of Boone’s Lick Road, the town’s Main Street. Its mile or more of sidewalks with overhanging wooden verandas was lined with stores, saloons, banks, a pool hall, a drugstore, livery stables...
2. Graduate Studies and New Places,1908 – 1915
Download PDF (126.2 KB)
...small-town boy in a far more demanding big-city academic environment. After cozy, comfortable Warrenton with its extended family cocoon, where everything was slow and easy, Chicago and Northwestern...
3. Michigan, 1916 – 1923
Download PDF (101.6 KB)
...length of the war were probably exaggerated and that any medical examination would pick up his “unreliable heart,” which would probably debar him, since “no doctor ever looked at me without saying something...
Download PDF (140.7 KB)
...beloved sanctuary from busy urban life, was far away and time-consuming to visit. The extreme heat and cold of the Midwest gave way to the equable climate of California’s Bay Area. He was glad to leave Ann...
5. Larger Horizons of Place and Time
Download PDF (99.9 KB)
...interests during the early Berkeley years. His main focus was on cultural and historical fieldwork in Mexico and adjacent parts of the American Southwest. He first crossed the border in 1926 and went back again almost...
6. The Frontiers of Knowledge
Download PDF (80.8 KB)
...referred to his previous methodological writing and lamented that his field and archive studies in Mexico were well known to archaeologists and anthropologists but ignored by geographers. What interested...
7. “The Great God West of the Sierras”
Download PDF (96.6 KB)
...friend and mentor Wellington Jones urged him to attend the upcoming Association of American Geographers’ annual meeting in Ann Arbor “and show yourself to a whole generation of younger geographers...
8. The Farthest Corridors of Human Time
Download PDF (94.4 KB)
...were the domestication of New World crops and the antiquity of initial human entry into the hemisphere. The origins of the first crops and of the first Americans — the “paleogeography of man,” as he called it — became a consuming passion throughout his remaining...
9. “The Heart of Human Geography”
Download PDF (89.7 KB)
...heavily for running the department during his frequent absences, and later John Kesseli, were both seconded to Washington, so that Sauer had to stretch his own teaching. Both Sauer’s children also went to Washington. Jonathan, soon to marry Hilda Sievers, was...
10. “Born in Another Age”
Download PDF (84.1 KB)
...with New Deal programs that ignored cultural, environmental, and historical circumstances and sought to solve everything by formula. To Sauer, their universalizing abstractions heralded an ominous doctrine...
11. “Man’s Role in Changing the Face of the Earth”
Download PDF (85.2 KB)
...From a list of ninety humanities and social science luminaries, Sauer was asked to select thirty participants. Although “aghast, excited, and somewhat scared” by the boldness and size of the...
12. A Productive Retirement,1957 – 1975
Download PDF (102.5 KB)
...from Chaucer, “The life so short, the craft so long to learn,” a German student song seemed apt: “Es gibt so manche Strasse da nimmer ich marschiert. Es gibt so manchen Wein den...
Download PDF (43.7 KB)
...Scholasticus’s “five-dollar phrases for commonplaces” — ruled government and academe alike. Cultural and agricultural diversity gave way to monocultural uniformity, an arid and rootless sameness...
Download PDF (157.2 KB)
Download PDF (164.3 KB)
Download PDF (144.9 KB)
Download PDF (8.2 MB)
Page Count: 288
Illustrations: 27 b&w illus.
Publication Year: 2014