Colleen Bryant's Reviews > The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed
by John Vaillant
bookshelves: canada, historical, non-fiction, thought-provoking
This is a book about a tree. I never thought that a book about a tree could be so interesting. Really, I never thought a book about a tree (in this sense) could exist. But exist it does, and it was an excellent book.
The Golden Spruce is the story of, well, of the Golden Spruce; a tree that happened by chance. It was a normal Sitka Spruce, but with one genetic mutation, this tree had golden needles. It was revered by the Haida people of Haida Gwaai on the northwest coast of British Columbia, and it was respected by loggers.
The Golden Spruce is also the story of Grant Hadwin. Hadwin was a logger turned environmentalist. He was enraged with the clear-cutting practices occurring in Northwest BC, and decided to take action. Instead of organizing protests, or anything of that sort, he made an example of the Golden Spruce. In a showing of how people care more about one tree than they do the whole forest, he destroyed the tree.
Vaillant's description of both Hadwin and the Golden Spruce are interwoven with information about the logging industry, both in the past and present, as well as information about the Haida people. He tells so many stories at one time while still managing to keep them separate. A very interesting and compelling book, I look forward to reading The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival.