- Paperback: 304 pages
- Publisher: University of Chicago Press; New edition edition (1 Mar. 1993)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0226318079
- ISBN-13: 978-0226318073
- Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.3 x 22.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 357,160 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- See Complete Table of Contents
Forests: The Shadow of Civilization Paperback – 1 Mar 1993
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About the Author
Robert Pogue Harrison is the Rosina Pierotti Professor in Italian Literature and chairs the Department of French and Italian at Stanford University. He is the author of The Body of Beatrice, Forests: The Shadow of Civilization, The Dominion of the Dead, Gardens: An Essay on the Human Condition, and Juvenescence: A Cultural History of Our Age, the latter three published by the University of Chicago Press. He is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. He is also host of the radio program Entitled Opinions on Stanford's station KZSU 90.1.
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Top Customer Reviews
Ranks alongside "The Soul of the White Ant" by Eugene Marais as a classic of its kind.
Buy it. Once read, you won't want to sell it on.
Instead all i got was an essay of interpretations of classical texts that happened to contain the words, "trees and forests" I didn't even finish the first chapter.
Extremely disappointed. Total garbage.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)
Harrison journeys through several epochs using the classical literature of the periods to illustrate his points. Frankly, his deeper medtitations that verge on philosophy and metaphysics were over my head. (One place he praises Heidegger for insights, in another he criticizes him. Nietszche ditto.) Nevertheless, the main thrust is clear: humans are at risk because they have denuded the world's landscape of the forests that up to now have provided the foundation for their culture, mores and myths.
What makes the book pessimistic, in my view, is that the behavior of humans over the millennia as illustrated by Harrison is overtly destructive and at the same time seemingly unreformable. Harrison makes a stab at optimism by, for example, praising the poetry of A. R. Ammons and the homes designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. I admire them, too, but they have hardly taken the booboisie (H.L. Mencken's term) by storm. It's hard to know what comes next in human history given the looming desertification that is the current trend, but Harrison's work strongly intimates that the future is dicey for we humans.
A nice corollary read to Harrison's work is Leslie Marmon Silko's "Almanac of the Dead," written from a very deep Native American perspective.
There is a blurb on the back dust cover of my hardback edition by Bill McKibben, but McKibben's "End of Nature" is to Harrison's work as the Bowie Bay Sox are to the Boston Red Sox--not in the same league.
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