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The Quiet World: Saving Alaska's Wilderness Kingdom, 1879-1960

4.03  ·  Rating Details  ·  120 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews

A riveting history of America's most beautiful natural resources, The Quiet World documents the heroic fight waged by the U.S. federal government from 1879 to 1960 to save wild AlaskaMount McKinley, the Tongass and Chugach national forests, Gates of the Arctic, Glacier Bay, Lake Clark, and the Coastal Plain of the Beaufort Sea, among other treasured landscapesfrom the ext

Hardcover, 576 pages
Published January 18th 2011 by Harper Torch (first published January 1st 2011)
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Bookmarks Magazine
Apr 06, 2011 Bookmarks Magazine rated it really liked it
Shelves: may-june-2011
Douglas Brinkley has called his planned Wilderness Cycle his “lifework.” In general, critics seemed to respect the scope of what Brinkley is trying to do, but they were more likely to praise The Quiet World as an important work than one that deeply moved them. A few critics faulted the work for spending too much time on the biographies of various environmental figures and not enough time on the land itself. A couple also thought that the work, despite its lush prose, might be too academic for th ...more
Todd Martin
The Quiet World examines the history of environmental protection in Alaska between 1879 and 1960 (or from the early travels of John Muir through the creation of ANWR) including profiles of prominent figures in the conservation movement including John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt, Gifford Pinchot, Rockwell Kent, Bob Marshall, Aldo Leopold, Harold Ickes, William O. Douglas, Ansel Adams, Rachel Carson and others. Although Alaska is the focus, the tale encompasses the birth and growth of the conservatio ...more
Andrew Hodgson
Nov 27, 2015 Andrew Hodgson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some chapters are stronger than others, and I would give it 5 starts but for minor organizational problems. The book is mostly a series of biographies of the great American conservationists, with an emphasis on their work and feelings regarding AK. Most of these characters get one chapter, then are gone, but some infiltrate other chapters near the end when the book wanders a bit towards being a history of the territory and state, rather than a book about people. Also the book fawns over the Firs ...more
Dec 08, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: grown-up-books
Brinkley's writing style is a bit odd. Sometimes chatty, sometimes serious, sometimes reaching a height of liberal progressive scolding (along the lines of...too bad you died of shellfish poisoning, Warren G. Harding. A shame you didn't see fit to regulate the industry, huh? Oh wait, you're dead; you can't hear me.)
Footnotes are often weird non-sequiturs, or self-indulgent asides. He will then refer to the text of said footnotes in the main text, which is off-puttingly presumptuous since the nat
Jan 01, 2013 Mark rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As with The Wilderness Warrior, Brinkley does not disappoint in his recounting of the history of the US preservation movement's successes in Alaska. The Quiet World has a scope and sweep that live up to its subject, and Brinkley effectively shares both the stories of those who have helped keep Alaska wild and the sense of wonder the land inspires. His own travels in the state shine through in his writing; though he doesn't discuss them directly except once in the acknowledgments, if I remember c ...more
David R.
A decent narrative of the path from territorial acquisition to establishment of ANWR in the waning hours of the Eisenhower Administration, technically speaking. But it is wanting. Brinkley resorts to the most ridiculous hyperbole and white-hat-black-hat characterizations. And I found the cast of major characters to be distasteful, populated by the likes of John Muir (racist), Theodore Roosevelt (big game hunter), wealthy Ivy League elistists like Gifford Pinchot and Howard Zahniser, and others, ...more
Mar 29, 2016 Thomas rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit all over the place for my taste.
Aaron Shields
Jun 25, 2015 Aaron Shields rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have a new found respect for conservationists. Muir/TR: my kind of guys!

This book, while good, did run out of steam for me in the last 1/3. Probably would have been better at 400 pages.

Needed an editor! Too many facts repeated over and over again. 10% shorter would have made for a much tighter book.
Robert Cheetham
Sep 22, 2012 Robert Cheetham rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The narrative is fairly choppy, but it's a great overview of the interaction between Alaska's wilderness and US politics from the mid-1800's to the early 20th century. While reading this, I found myself reflecting on the degree to which we are still recapitulating fundamental arguments in the 21st century (drill, baby, drill vs. protect the wilderness) that have been part of our political narrative since Theodore Roosevelt.
Brian Durfee
Sep 24, 2011 Brian Durfee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
#44 THE QUIET WORLD: Saving Alaska's Wilderness Kingdom by Douglas Brinkley. Durfee's top 50 non-fiction books countdown. A detailed history of our greatest, grandest state. THE QUIET WORLD is populated with such characters as John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt, Rockwell Kent, Dwight D Eisenhower, and Ansel Adams
Jul 07, 2014 Carla rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed reading this a little at a time over lunch, it was the perfect book to read just before going to Alaska. I'm sure the present of TR helped, as well as the timely subject matter, but I found it to be a well considered and interesting presentation of the struggle to save wild Alaska.
Aug 02, 2011 Victoria rated it it was amazing
189 pages under belt, this is a winner, I WILL TRAVEL this place I trust
FAB Book, for the last 7 years I have wanted to go there

It is on my list to do hopefully 2013\

Plus I ordered an additional book:"My Wilderness"
William O. Douglas;
Jun 27, 2013 Mary rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not the best written book (he could have used a better editor) but it was an interesting history of the conservation movement in the U.S. with emphasis on Alaska. Makes me want to travel in Alaska again.
Feb 05, 2013 Peter rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Not only a great history of conservation in Alaska, but also a good recounting of conservation nationwide. Great profile of important people in the movement along the way.
Apr 19, 2011 Dayna marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
I don't have time to read this now, so am going to put it aside and come back to it later. I did find the going choppy to start, though.
Jan 20, 2012 Judy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I truly enjoyed The Quiet World. Detailed stories about the great conservationists of our recent past.
May 20, 2011 Lynne rated it liked it
Shelves: history, audiobooks
Dry but informative. I enjoyed the section about William O. Douglas's role in protecting the environment.
Jeff Dilbert
Aug 07, 2014 Jeff Dilbert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Loved it! Extremely comprehensive history, amazing details.
Jun 29, 2012 Dariggle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The history of conservation in America explained.
Maureen Flatley
Feb 17, 2011 Maureen Flatley rated it it was amazing
Astonishing read.....highly, highly recommend.
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Douglas Brinkley is a professor of history at Rice University and a contributing editor at Vanity Fair. The Chicago Tribune has dubbed him “America’s new past master.” His most recent books are The Quiet World, The Wilderness Warrior, and The Great Deluge. Six of his books have been selected as New York Times Notable Books of the Year. He lives in Texas with his wife and three children.
More about Douglas G. Brinkley...

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