Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature” as Want to Read:
Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature

4.12  ·  Rating Details  ·  513 Ratings  ·  19 Reviews
In a lead essay that powerfully states the broad argument of the book, William Cronon writes that the environmentalist goal of wilderness preservation is conceptually and politically wrongheaded. Among the ironies and entanglements resulting from this goal are the sale of nature in our malls through the Nature Company, and the disputes between working people and environmen ...more
Paperback, 560 pages
Published October 17th 1996 by W. W. Norton & Company (first published 1995)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Uncommon Ground, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Uncommon Ground

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,708)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Jun 19, 2012 Sean rated it really liked it
Shelves: nature
Collection of great essays on "nature" by folks representing a diverse array of disciplines: plant biology, history, landscape architecture, culture and communications, feminist theory, literature, geography, etc. The "nature" the essayists address includes everything from the well-managed tourist-oriented wilderness (e.g., Yosemite, Mt. Rushmore); commercial nature (The Nature Company); landscape architecture (Frederick Law Olmsted); Amazonia; the very pricey real estate along the cliffs of sou ...more
David Bates
Apr 16, 2013 David Bates rated it it was amazing
In 1995 Cronon edited a collected series of essays published under the title Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature, which strongly criticized the Environmental Movement for aspects of its worldview drawn from a misplaced emphasis on Nature as something set apart from society. “The work of literary scholars, anthropologists, cultural historians, and critical theorists over the past several decades has yielded abundant evidence,” Cronon noted, “that ‘nature’ is not nearly so natura ...more
Oct 02, 2007 Alissa rated it it was amazing
Thought-provoking set of essays by great thinkers, including William Cronon as the editor. Cronon was writing and innovating in American environmental history before folks like Jared Diamond entered the scene and (in my opinion) repackaged some of the thinking of writers like Cronon and Crosby in a way that reached the masses. But Cronon was trying to reinsert the environment in our understanding of history long before it was a popular theme -- he was booed off of academic stages before his idea ...more
Nov 20, 2008 Anjuli rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Nature lovers and historians.
Recommended to Anjuli by: Reiko Hillyer
Cronon promotes a nuanced understanding of historical environmentalism and how it has influenced the movement today. After reading this book, I felt less guilty as a human in nature and ready to redefine my place as part of an ecosystem.
Jun 27, 2007 Pierre rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Environmentalists
A series of essays that provide a well rounded assessment of how humans interact with nature. Environmentalists often perceive their view of nature and "preservation" as morally superior to other uses and needs that we rely upon from Mother Nature. One particular essay, titled, "Are you and environmentalist or do you work for a living" gets at the crux of this issue of how we can sustainably grow and develop societally and enhance our valuation and care for our environment.
Dec 25, 2015 Erin rated it it was ok
The first third of this book excited me with poignant questions and observations. The middle third fell flat and the last third was an absolute struggle to get through. The first third is entirely worth it though and just pick those essays you want to read from the rest. Nature continues to be more culture than we acknowledge or discuss even though almost two decades have passed since this book was complied.
May 20, 2009 Dustin rated it it was amazing
Really good book, full of fascinating stuff. The essay about Simulation alone will blow your mind, and once you throw in all the other stuff, you're going to be sucking up your brain drippings with a wet-vac. But, seriously, this book lays down an expansive challenge to what we think of as "natural" and how we consider our "stewardship" of the planet.
John Vanek
Feb 22, 2016 John Vanek rated it it was amazing
Four stars for the totality of the essays--many are very good, a few are ok. Cronon's introduction alone is worth the fifth star. It's absolutely necessary reading for anyone who wants to think about his/her own place in the natural world.
Jennifer DeJonghe
Dec 11, 2009 Jennifer DeJonghe rated it it was amazing
Some good essays about rethinking our views on wilderness and what constitutes as "natural". Some of the essays were better than others - Cronon's piece was particularly good and has influenced a lot of subsequent writings about nature.
May 13, 2010 Melissa rated it really liked it
A collection of essays resulting from a special sponsored project by UC-Irvine bringing together thinkers from different disciplines working to get at the meaning of "nature" in American life.
Oct 14, 2008 Burgersub rated it really liked it
Generally interesting geography/environmentalist essays. Not as impenetrably philosophical as the other book I had to read for this class, "Human Geography: an Essential Anthology."
Sep 22, 2007 Doina rated it liked it
Shelves: food-for-thought
a collection of essays looking at nature and the role of humanity in today's world as well as historical and cultural relationships between man and nature.
I rated and reviewed this book on LibraryThing:
Apr 28, 2007 Gabriel rated it it was amazing
A new glance at the Sublime. William Cronon and Richard White are Giants.
Nov 10, 2007 Justin rated it it was amazing
Excellent. Always useful to think about our accepted paradigms.
Leah Cairns
Jun 14, 2013 Leah Cairns marked it as to-read
Shelves: hamilton
Anna recommends the first essay, "The Trouble with Wilderness."
May 19, 2011 Molly rated it really liked it
Very interesting and VERY dense.
Jun 08, 2015 Jen marked it as to-read
Shelves: anth-soc, landscapes, uq
GE195 .U53 1995, SSAH
Mar 26, 2016 Susan rated it really liked it
A powerful book.
TANYA. CANADY marked it as to-read
Jun 25, 2016
Linh Than
Linh Than marked it as to-read
Jun 23, 2016
Sean marked it as to-read
Jun 23, 2016
David Merkowitz
David Merkowitz marked it as to-read
Jun 22, 2016
anne marked it as to-read
Jun 22, 2016
Julia marked it as to-read
Jun 23, 2016
Andrew marked it as to-read
Jun 18, 2016
Elizabeth marked it as to-read
Jun 18, 2016
B. A. Tsao
B. A. Tsao rated it it was amazing
Jun 17, 2016
Meg O'Brien
Meg O'Brien marked it as to-read
Jun 16, 2016
Aaron D
Aaron D marked it as to-read
Jun 15, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 56 57 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Organic Machine: The Remaking of the Columbia River
  • Nature's Economy: A History of Ecological Ideas
  • Wilderness and the American Mind
  • Crimes Against Nature: Squatters, Poachers, Thieves, and the Hidden History of American Conservation
  • Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900 (Studies in Environment and History)
  • Down to Earth: Nature's Role in American History
  • Earth in Mind: On Education, Environment, and the Human Prospect
  • The Republic of Nature: An Environmental History of the United States
  • Killing for Coal: America's Deadliest Labor War
  • The End of Nature
  • The Rambunctious Garden: Saving Nature in a Post-Wild World
  • Man and Nature: Or, Physical Geography as Modified by Human Action
  • Savage Dreams: A Journey into the Landscape Wars of the American West
  • The Ecological Indian: Myth and History
  • Listening to the Land: Conversations about Nature, Culture and Eros
  • Coming Home to the Pleistocene
  • Flight Maps: Adventures With Nature In Modern America
  • Emerald City: An Environmental History of Seattle
William "Bill" Cronon is a noted environmental historian, and the Frederick Jackson Turner and Vilas Research Professor of History, Geography, and Environmental Studies at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He was president of the American Historical Association (AHA) in 2012.
More about William Cronon...

Share This Book