An Everglades Providence: Marjory Stoneman Douglas and the American Environmental Century

An Everglades Providence: Marjory Stoneman Douglas and the American Environmental Century

by Jack E. Davis


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No one did more than Marjory Stoneman Douglas to transform the Everglades from the country's most maligned swamp into its most beloved wetland. By the late twentieth century, her name and her classic The Everglades: River of Grass had become synonymous with Everglades protection. The crusading resolve and boundless energy of this implacable elder won the hearts of an admiring public while confounding her opponents—growth merchants intent on having their way with the Everglades. Douglas's efforts ultimately earned her a place among a mere handful of individuals honored as a namesake of a national wilderness area.

In the first comprehensive biography of Douglas, Jack E. Davis explores the 108-year life of this compelling woman. Douglas was more than an environmental activist. She was a suffragist, a lifetime feminist and supporter of the ERA, a champion of social justice, and an author of diverse literary talent. She came of age literally and professionally during the American environmental century, the century in which Americans mobilized an unprecedented popular movement to counter the equally unprecedented liberties they had taken in exploiting, polluting, and destroying the natural world.

The Everglades were a living barometer of America's often tentative shift toward greater environmental responsibility. Reconstructing this larger picture, Davis recounts the shifts in Douglas's own life and her instrumental role in four important developments that contributed to Everglades protection: the making of a positive wetland image, the creation of a national park, the expanding influence of ecological science, and the rise of the modern environmental movement. In the grand but beleaguered Everglades, which Douglas came to understand is a vast natural system that supports human life, she saw nature's providence.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780820337791
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Publication date: 04/15/2011
Series: Environmental History and the American South Series
Pages: 810
Product dimensions: 5.80(w) x 8.80(h) x 2.10(d)

About the Author

Paul S. Sutter is an associate professor of history at the University of Colorado and editor of the series Environmental History and the American South. He is author of Driven Wild: How the Fight against Automobiles Launched the Modern Wilderness Movement.

Table of Contents

Foreword Paul S. Sutter xiii

Author's Note and Acknowledgments xix

Part 1

1 Journey's End 3

2 River of Life 23

3 Lineage 39

4 Mr. Smith's "Reconnoissance" 55

5 Birth and Despair 70

6 Suicide 81

7 Growing Up 90

8 Frank's Journey 104

9 The Sovereign 115

10 Wellesley 127

11 Reports 138

12 Marriage 153

13 By Violence 163

14 Killing Mr. Bradley 180

Part 2 2 15 A New Life 199

l6 Conservationists 212

17 Rights 228

18 World War 241

19 Land Booms 257

20 The Galley Slave 273

21 Hurricanes 293

22 Stories 310

23 The Proposal 327

24 The Book Idea 344

25 The Park Idea 363

26 Dedications 380

Part 3

27 An Unnecessary Drought 403

28 Perishing and Publishing 420

29 Grassroots 438

30 The Jetport 456

31 The Conversion 472

32 Regionalism and Environmentalism 491

33 The Kissimmee 513

34 Grande Dame 529

35 Justice and Equality 549

36 The Gathering Twilight 569

Epilogue: "Without Me" 591

Notes 607

Index 733

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