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Tillabooks: Will's Book Blog

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Holding Common Ground

Holding Common Ground: The Individual and Public Lands in the American West, edited by Paul Linkholdt and Derrick Knowles. Spokane, Washington: Eastern Washington University Press, 2005. ISBN: 1-59766-000-0

This is another of those wonderful essay collections they buy here at the Washington State Library, since its broad topic—environmentalism in the “West”—fits the library's collection policy. “West” in this context is simply defined as the western half of the country, since the locales range from Yellowstone and Colorado to the Pacific, both California and here in the Northwest.

The over thirty essays contained within this thin volume of less than 200 pages are divided into three broad groupings: awakenings, challenges and victories. These nonfiction nuggets proved to be perfect fare for lunch-time reading—which is how I used the book—since they are succinct. Brief vignettes, easily assimilated while munching on a microwaved burrito, or Italian pocket sandwich, or while crunching a crisp and juicy Washington apple.

It's hard to enumerate the topics covered in these environmental pieces, but in fauna they range from herons to condors, bison to bears, while the flora covers saguaro to chaparral, Douglas fir to Oregon grape. The settings range from sand dunes to canyons, mountains and rivers, islands, peninsulas, wilderness and forests. Not to mention the human element, always striving to preserve what is left. Highly recommended for anyone with an environmental bent.


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