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3 5 8 W e s t e r n A m e r i c a n L i t e r a t u r e F a l l 2 0 0 6 across the 49th parallel—which has an entry of its own—and so does this book’s reach. Canadian and American topics are equally well covered, and themes common to both are dealt with in an even-handed manner. The book’s focus on a region defined by its physical features renders provincial and state boundaries largely irrelevant, since only the Dakotas, Nebraska, and Kansas fall fully within the designated area. If one thinks of national parks in Alberta, Montana, or Wyoming, Jasper, Banff, Waterton, Glacier, Yellowstone, and Grand Teton likely come to mind, but they do not make the cut here. Alberta’s only Great Plains national park is Elk Island due east ofEdmonton, and neither Montana nor Wyoming has one. The entries are compact and informative, and some rise to eloquence—the closing paragraphs of Bret Wallach’s overview essay on “Physical Environment,” for example, abandon a neutral tone to speak compellingly of a land once open and free but now fettered by fences and clutter. The book is well edited. I noticed almost no typos or factual errors. I doubt the author of the entry on the “Ku Klux Klan” meant “marshal law,” but who knows when we are talking about the West. As I proceeded through the book, I jotted down subjects that merited inclusion. Without exception, they eventually turned up. As a test this is as arbitrary as the book’s thematic sections, no doubt. Then again, there is no set formula for evaluating an encyclopedia, so my test is probably as useful as any other. The Encyclopedia of the Great Plains passed with flying colors. Just be forewarned: the entries for Giants in theEarth (1927), InCold Blood (1965), and Grapes ofWrath (1939) are not to be found in “Literary Traditions.” But enough caviling. This is a wonderful achievement, and David Wishart, his advisory board and staff, and the Center for Great Plains Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln deserve congratulations on seeing a fifteen-year project through to successful completion. No one in the future will want to generalize about the Great Plains without first consulting this now-standard reference. Conserving Words: How American Nature Writers Shaped the Environmental Movement. By Daniel J. Philippon. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2004. 373 pages, $22.95. What’s Nature Worth1 Narrative Expressions of Environmental Values. Edited by Terre Satterfield and Scott Slovic. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 2004- 310 pages, $24.95. Reviewed by Jim Dwyer California State University, Chico Conserving Words by Daniel J. Philippon and What's Nature Worth? edited by Terre Satterfield and Scott Slovic both address a question posed in Seeking Awareness in American Nature Writing (1992) by Slovic himself: “How does nature writing influence people’s attitudes and behavior?” (181). b o o k R e v i e w s 3 5 9 Philippon’s work combines biographical and rhetorical criticism to delineate the “ecology of influence” that exists between nature writing and activism (xi). He examines the work of five crucial authors/activists who founded environmental organizations: Theodore Roosevelt and the Boone and Crockett Club, Mabel Osgood Wright and the Connecticut Audubon Society, John Muir and the Sierra Club, Edward Abbey and Earth First! and Aldo Leopold and the Wilderness Society. For each author, Philippon establishes the discursive frame, the narrative enabled, the values conveyed, the objects of injustice/neglect, the organization name and type, and the landscape protected. For example, the narratives enabled by the above authors are identified as conquering the frontier, cultivating the garden, visiting the park, studying the wilderness, and creating utopia (7). Roosevelt evolved from being a rather heedless hunter to realizing “the true plight of the native American quadrupeds, fleeing ever westward, in ever smaller numbers, from men like himself” (33). His magazine Forest and Stream “provided outdoorsmen with a means of communicating ... as well as the rapid growth of sportsmen’s clubs and associations” (54). Wright reflected emerging suburban values, with the garden...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1948-7142
Print ISSN
0043-3462
Pages
pp. 358-360
Launched on MUSE
2017-10-04
Open Access
No
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