John Hassan sets himself an ambitious task in a book that ‘endeavours to trace humanity’s changing relationships with nature over the last 200 years’ (p. 7). Concentrating on the coast focuses the challenge, especially given that much attention is on more ‘parochial problems’ and ‘local difficulties’ (p. 7).
This is an unusual book in terms of the range of its discrete and varied chapters. Its strongest continuing themes are ecology and the Sundarbans. Despite an occasional lack of context and connection, each section is of interest, and some are original and thought-provoking.
The main theme of this book is American environmentalism and the development of the modern environmental movement.
The Summits of Modern Man: Mountaineering After the Enlightenment is both a more narrowly focussed and a more widely cast book than its title would suggest. The core of the work focusses on one physical mountain, and the activities which took place upon and around it from the 18th century onwards: Mont Blanc, the white mountain, and the highest peak in Europe.
In 1942, as Japanese forces swept through Southeast Asia, retreating British colonial officers decided to shoot the dangerous animals living in Rangoon Zoo and to release the harmless ones. Because of their own uncertain futures and limited supplies, they also killed the Zoo’s deer for meat to supplement their increasingly meagre diets.
Death and Survival is a collection of eight previously published articles and chapters with a new preface, introduction and conclusion. Luckin is without a doubt one of the most important urban environmental historians of London.
Grootplaas, a produce farm that specialises in citrus and numbers around 900 hectares in size, is the subject of Maxim Bolt’s latest monograph, Zimbabwe’s Migrants and South Africa’s Border Farms: The Roots of Impermanence.