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A Sand County Almanac (Outdoor Essays & Reflections) Mass Market Paperback – 1 Apr 2006

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Mass Market Paperback, 1 Apr 2006
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Product details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books Inc.; Reprint edition (1 April 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345345053
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345345059
  • Product Dimensions: 10.6 x 2.1 x 17.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (23 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,080,158 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Authors

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Product Description


These evocative essays about the farm Leopold loved will again be enjoyed by nature lovers and preservationists alike. Though the book has been continuously in print, this beautiful illustrated edition...will attract fans and newcomers and will make a great gift book this holiday season. (Publishers Weekly) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Michael Sewell is a widely recognized nature photographer with a long-standing relationship with the Sierra Club. A book of his photographs, Bay Area Wild: A Celebration of the Natural Heritage of the San Francisco Bay Area, was published in 1997. Kenneth Brower is a prominent environmental writer and advocate whose books include The Starship and the Canoe. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
EACH YEAR, after the midwinter blizzards, there comes a night of thaw when the tinkle of dripping water is heard in the land. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By M.R. Buckner on 10 Jan 2005
Format: Paperback
This is a charmingly written account of the seasons, flora and fauna of North America by a man who was clearly a literary artist and keen observer of nature. Although this was written many decades ago, the same concerns apply about how human behaviour undermines the continued existence of our fellow creatures, and little seems to have changed since then regarding people's ignorant and selfish attitudes. Leopold had an impressive and intricate knowledge of species and ecosystems, despite his lack of modern equipment that we have today, and he acknowledged the fragile and complex bonds between soil, plants, animals and people with the greatest of care. He conceded that animals have feelings and needs not unlike our own, yet he failed to take this realisation further: that they should therefore have a right to life and be treated ethically. I personally do not believe that humans have a moral right to hunt animals for recreation, but Leopold was a supporter of blood sports as long as the technology was kept to the minimum. This book is a good basis from which to start on one's journey towards an appreciation of environmental and ethical issues, but it by no means covers the entire spectrum of philosophical argument. Much information was meticulously gathered and it is obvious to the reader how much Leopold loved the land and cared to see it protected. There is a section where he laments the extinction of a flower he found particularly pretty, and that represented for him the history of the land, that I find very moving. For the sheer beauty and sensitivity of his writing, I would highly recommend this classic work on nature in North America.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Ashtar Command on 4 Dec 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"A Sand County Almanac" by Aldo Leopold was first published in 1949. I have the Oxford University Press paperback edition (the one with the honkers at the cover). As far as I understand, this edition contains all of the original work. Other editions leave out parts of sections II and III. The OUP edition is beautifully illustrated by Charles W. Schwartz.

Although less known than Carson's "Silent Spring", Leopold's "A Sand County Almanac" is considered a classic by the conservationist and environmentalist movements. Leopold was a leading conservationist himself and a co-founder of the Wilderness Society, an organization devoted to the expansion and protection of wilderness areas. Deep ecologists consider "A Sound County Almanac" a precursor to their own philosophy, because of Leopold's attempt to formulate a "land ethic" which takes into consideration the entire "biotic community", not just humans. Said Leopold: "A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise."

Most of the almanac consists of short descriptions and reflections on wildlife, most of them based on observations around Leopold's backwoods farm in Wisconsin. He seems to have deliberately obtained a small and run down piece of property. Occasionally, the area was so flooded that Leopold couldn't make it to his job (he was professor at the university of Wisconsin-Madison).

Often, Leopold's sketches simply deal with the beauties of trees, flowering plants and animals (such as honkers). The author also writes about his hunting trips - in contrast to animal rights activists, Leopold was no vegan. However, he seems to have given up killing large mammal predators, preferring instead to hunt birds strictly for food.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 31 Mar 1999
Format: Paperback
As one who has lived my life in the out-of-doors and has a great appreciation for it, Leopold writes what I've always felt but never could express. Leopold's love for nature is shared in a way that all can appreciate.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By "luke_e6" on 22 Nov 2005
Format: Paperback
A sand county almanac is a book wonderfuly written book about observing nature and taking respect for all life on the planet. Leopold talks much about developing a land ethic as a guide to allow humans to enjoy this world and exploit its resources in a sustainable way. Very quotable and moving in places, although it is many years old now, all issues of wilderness preservation, species extinctions and environmental degradation are still relevant to the world today. Leopold alluded to many things that were only later published in scientific literature such as the tragedy of the commons and sustainable use of resources. Much of the book is nostalgic with Leopold decrying the commercialisation of modern hunting and wilderness in general in America (a fact that I can only assume has gotten worse since the 1940’s) and believing that hunting can be a way to get people back to nature to see what life was like for our ancestors, though I myself have no wish to go hunting I do believe Leopold is correct, as long as it is done with the minimal of equipment and responsibly, as Leopold himself said. Everyone who enjoys nature and landscapes from bird watchers to ramblers has to read this book. Everyone else who reads this book should think deeply about the issues it raises. For looking at this book tells us about environmental policy and perceptions in the 1940’s and so gives us a guide as to how far we have come in the decades since in how we treat and view the world. And in that respect I would say that we have not come far.
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