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University of Vermont Press


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Defending the Master Race Cover

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Defending the Master Race

Conservation, Eugenics, and the Legacy of Madison Grant

Jonathan Spiro

Scholars have labeled Madison Grant everything from the "nation's most influential racist" to the "greatest conservationist that ever lived." His life illuminates early twentieth-century America as it was heading toward the American Century, and his legacy is still very much with us today, from the speeches of immigrant-bashing politicians to the international efforts to arrest climate change. This insightful biography shows how Grant worked side-by-side with figures such as Theodore Roosevelt to found the Bronx Zoo, preserve the California redwoods, and save the American bison from extinction. But Grant was also the leader of the eugenics movement in the United States. He popularized the infamous notions that the blond-haired, blue-eyed Nordics were the "master race" and that the state should eliminate members of inferior races who were of no value to the community. Grant's behind-the-scenes machina tions convinced Congress to enact the immigration restriction legis lation of the 1920s, and his influence led many states to ban interracial marriage and sterilize thousands of "unworthy" citizens. Although most of the relevant archival materials on Madison Grant have mysteriously disappeared over the decades, Jonathan Spiro has devoted many years to reconstructing the hitherto concealed events of Grant's life. His astonishing feat of detective work re veals how the founder of the Bronx Zoo wound up writing the book that Adolf Hitler declared was his "bible."

Discovering Black Vermont Cover

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Discovering Black Vermont

African American Farmers in Hinesburgh, 1790-1890

Elise A. Guyette

An impressive work of historical recovery, Discovering Black Vermont tells the story of three generations of free blacks trying to build a life and community in northern Vermont in the years following statehood. By piecing together fragments of the history of free blacks in Vermont--tax and estate records, journals, diaries, and the like--the author recovers what is essentially a lost world, establishing a framework for using primary sources to document a forgotten past. The book is an invaluable resource for those conducting local history research and will serve as inspiration for high school and college students and their teachers.

The Myth of Progress Cover

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The Myth of Progress

Toward a Sustainable Future

Tom Wessels

A provocative critique of Western progress from a scientific perspective. In this compelling and cogently argued book, Tom Wessels demonstrates how our current path toward progress, based on continual economic expansion and inefficient use of resources, runs absolutely contrary to three foundational scientific laws that govern all complex natural systems. It is a myth, he contends, that progress depends on a growing economy. Wessels explains his theory with his three Laws of Sustainability: (1) the law of limits to growth, (2) the second law of thermodynamics, which exposes the dangers of increased energy consumption, and (3) the law of self-organization, which results in the marvelous diversity of such highly evolved systems as the human body and complex ecosystems. These laws, scientifically proven to sustain life in its myriad forms, have been cast aside since the eighteenth century, first by western economists, political pragmatists, and governments attracted by the idea of unlimited growth, and more recently by a global economy dominated by large corporations, in which consolidation and oversimplification create large-scale inefficiencies in material and energy usage. Wessels makes scientific theory readily accessible by offering examples of how the Laws of Sustainability function in the complex systems we can observe in the natural world around us. He shows how systems such as forests can be templates for developing sustainable economic practices that will allow true progress. Demonstrating that all environmental problems have their source in the Myth of Progress’s disregard for the Laws of Sustainability, he concludes with an impassioned argument for cultural change.

Parks and People Cover

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Parks and People

Managing Outdoor Recreation at Acadia National Park

Robert E. Manning

Parks and People describes fifteen years of research at Maine's Acadia National Park, conducted by Robert E. Manning, his colleagues, and students. The book is organized into three parts. Part I addresses indicators and standards of quality for park resources and the visitor experience. Part II describes efforts to monitor indicator variables. Part III outlines and assesses management actions designed to maintain standards of quality. The book concludes with a discussion of the implications of this program of natural and social science research, including a series of principles for outdoor recreation management at Acadia and other parks.

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