George Perkins Marsh's Man and Nature was the first book to attack the American myth of the superabundance and the inexhaustibility of the earth. It was, as Lewis Mumford said, "the fountainhead of the conservation movement," and few books since have had such an influence on the way men view and use land. "It is worth reading after a hundred years," Mr. Lowenthal points out, "not only because it taught important lessons in its day, but also because it still teaches them so well...Historical insight and contemporary passion make Man and Nature an enduring classic."
First published in 1864, this cautionary exploration of how civilizations decline when they degrade the natural world is the wellspring of the environmental movement.
This classic of conservation, Man and Nature, is a remarkable work. Written more than 100 years ago, it remains as rich and suggestive now as it must have been astonishing then… The editor has written an excellent and meticulously balanced foreword… It should be added that the labor of Lowenthal in correcting, amplifying, and annotating the original creation of Marsh is beyond cavil.