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The Bulldozer in the Countryside: Suburban Sprawl and the Rise of American Environmentalism

3.65  ·  Rating Details  ·  155 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
The Bulldozer in the Countryside is the first scholarly history of efforts to reduce the environmental costs of suburban development in the United States. The book offers a new account of two of the most important historical events in the period since World War II--the mass migration to the suburbs and the rise of the environmental movement. This work offers a valuable his ...more
Hardcover, 332 pages
Published February 29th 2008 by Cambridge University Press (first published January 1st 2001)
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Mathew Powers
By and large, I liked this book and think it does well to explain the connections between the housing industry and the overall culture of the US, notably the change from Progressive Era type conservationism to war-time conservationism, to the environmental movements. As well, the history of the housing market, air conditioning, ecology, and other factors are all good.

However, there were factors that were not discussed, such as the blight and gentrification of urban cities that helped push people
Jul 09, 2015 Kevinch417 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very thorough study of the post-war rise of the suburbs. Each chapter covers different topics: building in wetlands, the attempt at solar power, septic tanks, the grassroots environmental movement, etc. To those who do not enjoy reading history books, note that this is exactly what it is. Each chapter provides a thesis argument, and then fills the pages with examples to drive that point home. You don't need to read the entire chapters or paragraphs to get the point, but you'd really be missing ...more
Dec 14, 2008 Lindsay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lindsay by: my brother
A dense, informative, extensively footnoted history of the relationship between post-WWII suburbanization and the American environmental movement. Beginning with the return of the GIs from the war, and the huge demand for housing they put on an already undersupplied market, the book details almost three decades' worth of conflict between an American population expanding faster than its ability to plan its growth and the physical environment their expansion inevitably brought them up against.

Adam Rome’s recent work The Bulldozer in the Countryside chronicles the rise of modern American Environmentalism in strict correlation with the advent of urban and suburban sprawl. In doing so, he does what many environmental theorists address only in the abstract or outright ignore: the strict connection between economics and environmentalism. The end result is an easy to read, well organized and compelling compendium of the late 20th century’s environmental movement that is grounded not in uto ...more
Feb 27, 2015 Samuel rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Adam Rome is a clever scholar. He noticed things that had been overlooked in a historical topic that had been nearly accepted as fairly straightforward: the intense build up of suburban neighborhoods in postwar America has created regrettable environmental problems. He investigates not the validity of this claim, but rather how the process came about and simultaneous to suburban growth created a dialogue informing and shaping the modern environmental movement. In other words, Rome was the first ...more
Apr 10, 2011 Gary rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: social-studies
The book paints capitalism as the problem and government as the solution. Tucked away on page 190 he briefly mentions that many of the problems created by sprawl were originally government solutions. Keynesian economics do not work! It only perpetuates the problem until the only way anyone can do anything is with government help (loans/grants/regulations).
Emma Sea
Feb 22, 2015 Emma Sea marked it as non-fiction-to-read  ·  review of another edition
NTS: not at my library :(
Michelle Enfield
Mar 06, 2009 Michelle Enfield rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An amazing and accessible look at the rise of environmentalism in the United States.
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