Taking us back to the birth of New England’s forests, Sheila Connor shows us these trees evolving amidst a succession of human cultures, from the archaic Indians who crafted canoes from white birch and snowshoes from ash, to the colonists who built ships of oak and pine, to the industrialists who laid railroad tracks on chestnut timber, to the tanners who used hemlock bark to treat the leather required to shoe the Union army. In this engaging narrative, cultural history affords insights into forestry, botany, horticulture, and ecology, which in turn illuminate the course of human conduct in a wooded land. Beautifully written and lavishly illustrated, this book will delight readers with a special interest in the trees of the region, as well as those who wonder what our American culture owes to nature.
Connor’s learning is so lightly borne, so generously dispensed, that anyone who loves the arboretum itself, trees in general, American history, the development of botanical science and the story of New England’s people from archaic Native Americans to modern artisans, will want to read this book and admire its host of illustrations… An excellent book.
A harvest of information as rich and varied as New England’s landscape.
Connor has come up with a hybrid: part natural history, part ethnobotany, part history of trade, and part arboretum guide. The combination works… Along the way are fascinating facts about the significance of wood in the history of the young country.
An unusual yet entertaining guide to the trees of New England as represented by Harvard University’s Arnold Arboretum. More than just the scientific name and noticeable characteristics, the author concentrates on trees and shrubs that can be tied to specific, well documented uses by early Americans.
This is a beautiful book.
Filled with photographs, drawings, and colored plates, the book is a visual pleasure and a delight to browse through or to read—a graceful example of nature writing at its best.
- 312 pages
- 8 x 11 inches
- Harvard University Press
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