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Uncommon Ground: Rethinking the Human Place in Nature

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  717 ratings  ·  25 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)
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Ian A few possibilities:
- Reinventing Nature?: Responses To Postmodern Deconstruction
- Nature's Economy

Also if you enter "Ecocriticism" into Amazon you'll…more
A few possibilities:
- Reinventing Nature?: Responses To Postmodern Deconstruction
- Nature's Economy

Also if you enter "Ecocriticism" into Amazon you'll turn up a lot of material similar to Uncommon Ground.(less)

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Oct 02, 2007 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
David Bates
Apr 16, 2013 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
Jun 19, 2012 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
Mar 15, 2013 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.
Nov 20, 2008 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.
Wendy Jensen
Jul 29, 2020 rated it liked it
This one blew my mind in many ways. I didn't give it a higher rating because I found it very troublesome to get through. I was getting out my dictionary about 3 times per page in many of the essays. That said, I did learn a lot of new words! But to think that my idea of "nature" is a construct and not exactly and necessarily based in reality is quite a novel idea! Thank you to the authors for taking on this difficult terrain, and introducing me to new ways of thinking about the relationship of h ...more
Julie Boudreau
May 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020, flore
Après 8 ans de travail acharné, enfin terminé! Un livre qui renverse complètement notre perception de ce qu'est la nature et la place de l'homme dans la nature. Un livre qui commence avec plein de questionnements et qui se fait un malin plaisir de conclure de la même manière. J'ai trouvé les derniers essais plus ardus, car ils sont davantage portés sur l'homme, la philosophie, mais c'est un passage obligé pour que ce livre soit à la hauteur de ce qu'il prétend être. Toute de même enrichissant. ...more
Jan 17, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
I read this book in grad school, and it was eye-opening for me. All the essays in this collection are thought provoking, and they will force any critical reader to abandon simplistic notion of what it means to be an environmentalist, as well as question the relationship between humankind and the natural world. Well worth the read.
Dec 17, 2019 rated it liked it
This was a collection of essays and some of them were really good and others were absolutely dull. Some of the information was a bit dated but overall the book made me rethink my opinions on the environmental movement.
Nov 14, 2019 rated it liked it
An interesting collection of essays exploring the boundaries of nature.
Feb 08, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-for-my-mfa
"The Trouble with Wilderness" ...more
Brad Austin
Sep 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Overall, I liked the book and the concept behind it. Some of the essays were a real struggle to get through because of the author's discipline. I wonder if the book is somewhat dated, which still adds to its value for historiography. It would be a good book for class. ...more
Jun 27, 2007 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. ...more
Feb 05, 2009 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. ...more
Jennifer DeJonghe
Sep 11, 2009 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. ...more
John Vanek
Jun 17, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history
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. ...more
Oct 14, 2008 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." ...more
Sep 22, 2007 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. ...more
May 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
A powerful book.
Dec 01, 2014 marked it as to-read
Shelves: anth-soc, landscapes
GE195 .U53 1995, SSAH
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Apr 16, 2010 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. ...more
May 12, 2011 rated it really liked it
Very interesting and VERY dense.
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Effina Hyatt
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Jan 30, 2016
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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

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