ENCOUNTERS WITH THE ARCHDRUID III-A RIVER. By John McPhee · April 3, P. The New Yorker, April 3, P. PROFILE of. Encounters with the Archdruid has ratings and reviews. Tony said: David Brower was an extreme conservationist. His ‘religion’ was wilderness. B. Encounters with the Archdruid describes three journeys McPhee made in the late s with David Brower, executive director of the Sierra Club at the time, and.

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In this book, creative nonfiction master John McPhee narrates a number of Brower’s ‘encounters’ with various similarly visionary opponents to conservation, including materials engineer and renowned geologist-for-hire Charles Park, resort developer Charles Fraser designer of Hilton Head Island in South Carolinaand Bureau of Reclamation Chief Floyd Dominy, encunters or infamous, depending on your view builder of dams.

Someday we are going to have to choose. Each time, McPhee is there with his wonderful ear.

Favorite Quotes: John McPhee – Encounters with the Archdruid – walkcheerfullyblog

The American southwest is still largely a remote backwater, with none of the explosive growth that it will see in the 80s and 90s. You figure out how the various elements go together.

I believe in the rights of creatures other than man. Aug 01, Aaron rated it it was amazing. It is a somewhat refreshing reminder that things haven’t always been this way, and makes me wonder what it will take to get back to that way of debating and demonstrating conflicting opinions. Even given that it was written in the early 70s, it is still timely and applicable. Sort of like that Wilson quote above, they each believe that human interventions in the environment are no less “natural” than those of rabbits or sparrows or komodo dragons.

I took it upon myself to ignore these pettifogging minutiae. While this may not be a book I would have picked up myself, I am glad my son-in-law, Ben, gave it to me to read. Today we would call Frasier a green developer, given his attempts to incorporate nature into his building programs.

It’s certainly possible that McPhee sways towards the former. These are not corporate bogey men or big business spin doctors attempting a disingenuous advocacy of activities that are self-evidently destructive to the environment. Box’s Joe Pickett character read. McPhee reveals more nuances of the value revolution that dominates the new age of ecology than most writers could pack into a volume twice as long.


McPhee blurs traditional journalism—the reporting of facts and accounting of events, with thematic elements more common to fiction.

This book chronicles David Brower’s, executive director of the Sierra Club for seventeen years, interactions with three men that would be seen as enemies of the environmental movement, a mineral engineer archdruud with the mining industry, a resort developer and a builder of large dams.

Then he would kick the dams apart and watch the floods that returned Strawberry Creek to its free- flowing natural state.

Favorite Quotes: John McPhee – Encounters with the Archdruid

The creativity at work here — pairing the late Sierra Club militant David Brower with a pro-copper mining scientist, a developer, and the most powerful head ever of the Reclamation Bureau on separate trips through nature — is a real stroke, and a lot of fun. He has a great, objective, journalistic style, where most of the storytelling is done through summary and dialogue. No one questions this, or asks the reason.

Yet undeniably moving and engaging. Brower’s foes here are all outdoorsmen in their own right yet fundamentally differ with him through their essential belief in the primacy of practicality when it comes to natural resources.

Also, the descriptions of the various wilderness I had recently read “Cadillac Desert,” and this book was mentioned as one of the references. What I think I love about McPhee is his remarkable ability to be fully objective–to present two or more sides to a story and to give each equal weight and consideration–while still writing with a clear and obvious passion for his subjects.

I expected more bitter fighting between Brower and his adversaries and was surprised at how well they got along considering such opposite viewpoints. Expansion will destroy us.

As it is, however, Non-fiction: Read this book, and then go read all of John McPhee’s books. May 28, Mark Greenbaum rated it it was amazing.

Looked him up and found archdurid to be a prominent and prolific writer and picked this one, probably his most popular work, to start with. Retrieved from ” https: We get the best sense of Brower in the first part, on his hike wifh Charles Park, while he seems to wiyh more into the action in the second and third sections with developer Fraser and then the rafting trip with Floyd Dominy, and I think this elusiveness weakens McPhee’s portrait a bit.


Oct 12, Bryan rated it it was amazing Shelves: But unlike Brower, who advocates a kind of reversion of the human species to a pre-technological lifestyle, Park believes that strict population controls limiting human procreation are the answer. He’s a die-hard environmentalist with a gift for PR who fights a never-ending battle against the government, developers, miners, and even humanity at large in his quest to keep as much of America as possible out of the reach of man forever, and McPhee — whose writing I found this book to be riveting; both a nature travelogue and an applied ecology seminar in one slim volume.

To me, they are preservationists, not conservationists. He feels that if he had been more aware, if he had more adequately prepared himself for his own kind of mission, the dam would not be there. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: It’s fascinating to look back on the thoughts, hopes, and fears from those in from my moment of time, here and now in Elapsed stopwatch time has no meaning at all.

Jul 12, rachel rated it really liked it.

Brower hikes in the Cascades with the mineral engineer; he camps archdfuid on Cumberland Island with the resort developer; and he goes rafting through the Grand Canyon with the dam builder. My first encounter with John McPhee, and a memorable one. John Muir, preservationist, founder of the young Sierra Club, had lost this bitter and, as it happened, final struggle of his life.

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