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Leave It As It Is: A Journey Through Theodore Roosevelt's American Wilderness
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Leave It As It Is: A Journey Through Theodore Roosevelt's American Wilderness

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  126 ratings  ·  30 reviews
An environmental clarion call, told through bestselling author David Gessner’s wilderness road trip inspired by America’s greatest conservationist, Theodore Roosevelt.

“Leave it as it is,” Theodore Roosevelt announced while viewing the Grand Canyon for the first time. “The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it.” Roosevelt’s rallying cry signaled the beginnin
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published June 9th 2020 by Simon Schuster
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John Scherer
Aug 12, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I attacked this book w/ Teddy-like vigor and enthusiasm. All that I can say is, “Bully!” Like my friend and colleague David, I find TR endlessly fascinating, and a bit frustrating. Yet, besides his amazing energy, determination, and intellectual depth and versatility, it is TR’s capacity for adaptation and growth that has always set him apart from other presidents and leaders. David does a fantastic job of weaving that tale of the growing, thinking, feeling, and empathetic TR with the contradict ...more
Diane S ☔
Aug 25, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: nfr-2020
Thoughts soon.
Nov 14, 2020 rated it did not like it
Is it a biography, an autobiography, or an essay about the environment? It tries to be all three at once, and doesn't do any of them well. Not my cup of tea. ...more
Aug 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
Audiobook narrated by Fred Sanders and borrowed from MidYork Library System's Libby.

A somewhat meandering but interesting look at TR's fascination with the outdoors and conservation with meaningful pauses to consider public lands.
Charlie Quimby
Aug 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: colorado-west

In 2012, David Gessner headed west on a 9,000-mile road trip, accompanied by the words and spirits of two saints of the American environmental movement. In pairing the “intellectual godfather” Wallace Stegner with the rabble-rousing laureate Edward Abbey, Gessner’s All the Wild that Remains hoped to reawaken readers to the indispensable relationship between humans and the land—and perhaps inspire them to do something more than read about it.

Leave It As It Is: A Journey Through Theodore Roosevelt
Ryan H
Sep 24, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Saving America's land in Roosevelt's time and today seems more complex and political than it needs to be. ...more
Oct 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Learnt a lot about the president that founded the National Parks and forrest that now i threaten by the nazi's in the White House. ...more
Oct 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Book 23 for 2020: Leave It As It Is: A Journey Through Theodore Roosevelt's American Wilderness by David Gessner
The title of this book comes from a speech given by Theodore Roosevelt when viewing the Grand Canyon on DATE. "Leave it as it is. You cannot improve on it. The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it (May 6, 1903). TR would go on to declare the Grand Canyon as a National Monument.
TR would ultimately preserve 230 million acres of land as national forests, national wildlife
Lorne Cheeseman
Sep 27, 2020 rated it really liked it
An interesting presentation of several journeys. A journey through the life of Theodore Roosevelt, a summer vacation exploring the Western United States and a journey through environmental discovery all wrapped together. I am not sure that any of these were wholly successful in the telling as they all suffered from being interspersed together in this book. While the writing was okay it was wasn't engrossing and the long chapters made it a bit tiring to get through. The being said the author pres ...more
Mark Bailey
Feb 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: melony-office
Gessner has come West again and this time with the intent to be an inspiring and effective conservationist. His was a brilliant idea to focus on Teddy Roosevelt as an example of getting things done in conservation. Somehow Gessner, a guy from the east coast, has a handle on our issues in Utah as well or better than anyone here. It is vaguely frustrating. Gessner's acknowledgment of people I know who were involved in the work, like Kristen Johanna Allen, the publisher at Torrey House Press, THP a ...more
Emily Lewis
Feb 07, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Gessner does an excellent job of weaving the history of Teddy Roosevelt with the history of public lands in the United States - both the good and the bad. He presents TR’s faults as well as his accomplishments and doesn’t try to make excuses for them - let’s us sit with those faults and reflect on how the manifest destiny of the country impacted the native people who lived here. He takes a deep dive into Bears Ears and shows how much time and effort went into the fight to protect it. Finally, by ...more
Andrew Martin
Feb 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
This is not your average history book. It is actually two books in one. First, it is an examination of Theodore Roosevelt's legacy in conservation and the preservation of federal lands. Second, it is the trip of the author to recreate the stops that Roosevelt made in his lifetime in the West. Together, it is a clarion call to the nation to preserve what is still left of our virgin lands. Although Roosevelt had plenty of faults, he did more than most Presidents in the role of conservationist in c ...more
Feb 04, 2021 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book is part memoir, part love letter to Theodore Roosevelt, part hate letter to Donald Trump, part commentary on the current state of conservation in the United States. It tries to do all of these things, but doesn't quite succeed in any of them. I suppose I learned some things about Roosevelt's conservation efforts, which were more numerous than I had realized, but to get there, I had to slog through a drug trip with the author's nephew and commentary from various politicians and environm ...more
Feb 10, 2021 rated it it was ok
Disclaimer: I listened to this one via Scribd, so some of my complaints may clearly be attributed to the format.
I appreciated how Gessner emphasized that the public spaces Theodore Roosevelt called 'national parks' were actually not virgin lands, but shaped by years of fire and agriculture by the Native Americans who vastly populated North America up till their horrible massacre by colonizers.
Gessner acknowledges "American exceptionalism" and overall some interesting points are made through the
Nancy Kowalski
Feb 15, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I've never read anything by David Gessner before but based on this book I already plan to read some more of his writings.
I was actually drawn to this book by a discussion on Living On Earth (NPR) . As a great fan of TR and National Parks and Monuments I contracted my local library system for a copy and devoured it. This was a combined travelogue, discussion of the development of Bears Ears, impact of NPs on our Native Americans, thoughts on our (p)reserved lands, and much more to think about.
James Lang
Sep 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I've read almost every one of Gessner's books, and I have the same reaction after every one: I want to go out and fight for something. This book contains his usual preoccupations: wildness, the environment, activism, travel, beer. But layering these onto the history of the environmental work of Theodore Roosevelt, and mixing in the very contemporary struggle over Bears Ears National Monument, make this a very timely and energizing read. ...more
Jan 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Important reading for anyone who wants to live in the West (or does so currently). As we talk about making certain wilderness areas "sacrificial" due to the massive increase in people coming to see wilderness, let's talk about what the reasons are for preserving islands of wilderness are. This book covers a lot of subtleties that are worth understanding while sharing bits about Teddy Roosevelt throughout. ...more
Eric Riddle
Feb 14, 2021 rated it liked it
The Theodore Roosevelt history will be very familiar to anyone with a cursory knowledge of his life. Much of the book focuses on the author’s personal journey across the western national parks. Best part of the book is history of the Bears Ears national monument. It contrasts Obama and Trump treatment of Bears Ears. I appreciated the emphasis of Native American history and involvement in Bears Ears.
Feb 17, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book had a lot of good information. There is so much I didn't know about TR and Gessner helped on that account. He really inspired me to want to read a couple biographies that he recommended. That said, I found his book rambling and at times hard to follow. I really wanted to like it but in the end I felt like I was slogging through an Opinion piece I was required to read for a class. If you are interested in the topic, do read, but know that it doesn't flow like it should. ...more
Sep 10, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Wonderful book! Gessner hits it out of the park with his exploration of National Parks thru the lens of Teddy Roosevelt. His book also speaks to the importance of parks and how they came to be. Well worth the read.
Aug 12, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: junk
A small mind that wishes that time will stop because it can't cope with life. The good old times when fairies were roaming the land. ...more
Aug 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved it!
Sep 14, 2020 rated it really liked it
History, biography, science, nature, politics of conservation, spiritual connection to naturescape; it’s all here in a compelling read and call to action.
Excellent and timely book combining a partial biography of TDR with a modern call to conservation in a country hell bent on destroying itself through it's fealty to big business. ...more
Kasey Lawson
Dec 14, 2020 rated it it was ok
“Is it a biography, an autobiography, or an essay about the environment? It tries to be all three at once, and doesn’t do any of them well.”
Jan 19, 2021 rated it liked it
As much a history of Theodore Roosevelt as of National Parks and environmentalism.
Feb 22, 2021 rated it it was amazing
One of the best nonfiction books I've read in a long time. About public lands, public/presidential policies, Theodore Roosevelt, and more. So good. Highly recommend. ...more
Mar 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Part history, part biography, part travelogue, part current events, and part environmental studies, I thoroughly enjoyed the resulting combination.
Ryne Anderson
Oct 08, 2020 rated it liked it
I had high expectations for this book. Gessner’s All the Wild That Remains is one of my favorite books. This book was similar in style- road trip out west while trying to analyze the legacy of a man who left such a lasting impact on our views about the relationship between human and natural world. This book was also being advertised as analyzing Roosevelt through a more critical lens rather than the hero worship he usually gets in books. In my opinion, the book failed to deliver in this regard. ...more
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David Gessner is the author of eight books, including Sick of Nature, The Prophet of Dry Hill, and Return of the Osprey, which was chosen by the Boston Globe as one of the top ten nonfiction books of the year and the Book-of-the-Month club as one of its top books of the year. The Globe called it a "classic of American Nature Writing." In 2006 he won a Pushcart Prize; in 2007 he won the John Burrou ...more

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