sdw's Reviews > The Meadowlands: Wilderness Adventures at the Edge of a City

The Meadowlands by Robert Sullivan
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's review
Oct 22, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: environment, non-fiction, non-fiction-essays
Read in October, 2010

“Once, there were actual meadows in the Meadowlands, decorated with wildflowers the way they are today littered with bits of paper and plastic and truck tire shards” (35).

The Meadowslands is not as foreign to me as most of New Jersey. I have lived here over a year and I have driven through the Meadowlands and taken too many trains through Secaucus. When I told my students that I’d decided to add a day on NJ environmental writing and we’d be reading about Meadowlands, many groaned. Most of my students had been to Meadowlands and none of them had been impressed. I think this book will impress them though. The writing is crisp. The history of the Meadowlands is told in contrast to its depressing present. Fascinating characters and stories populate his adventures and explorations. Yet, Sullivan does not let the city destroy the wild. My favorite chapter was “Walden Swamp.”

I wanted to read this book quickly, skip through it on the way to my next task. But I found myself reading slowly, pulled in by the description of North Jersey, an area so close to where I live. I won’t be teaching environmental writing in the future without this book.

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