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The History of the Sierra Club 1892-1970.

The Sierra Club is one of the nation's oldest environmental groups, organized in the latter part of the 19th Century as something of a localized "outings" club, oriented mostly toward park and Sierra wilderness preservation, but which has grown to become an effective environmental organization. Comes now "The History of the Sierra Club 1892-1970" by Michael P. Cohen, published by Sierra Club Books, 730 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109.

Of course the organization's concerns have expanded and now encompass most important environmental issues, including those affecting marine ecosystems and animals. The book is an excellent narrative account of the Sierra Club itself and those persons who have molded and led it. It also gives readers a good insight into the environmental movement and the role of the Sierra Club in it, which will be both educational and interesting to both friend and foe of the Club. Indeed, a case could be made that the Sierra Club was one of the main players in forming what is often called the "environmental movement." This is, of course, a mostly friendly chronicle of the Club and its accomplishments, but it is nonetheless accurate and informative. If one is to consider the history of the American conservation movement, they must consider the private organizations as well as the public agencies involved, and this volume is a good start in that direction.

The author, who has also written a prize winning biography of Club founder John Muir, covers the Club's history in several phases, beginning with the period 1892 to the death of Muir (its president) in 1914 when the Club was devoted to advancing Yosemite National Park and the wilderness of the Sierra Nevada.

A second period, 1915-34, saw Club interest grow to the entire National Park System and park expansion in California. Through the 1940's Club leadership redirected policies more toward a developing ecological thought on the value of wilderness. Many of those developing ecological philosophies, then, evolved toward the environmental movement of the 1950's, '60's and '70's. Indeed, the Club has had a large impact on modem popular environmental/ecological thought and, through its legal and political efforts, it has had considerable effect on private and governmental policies and actions.

The author has provided a good inside look at the originators, the leaders, and some of the infighting, etc. of an influential organization whose environmental concerns grew to include eventually such marine topics as marine mammals, oil pollution, estuarine preservation and much more.

The 576-page hardbound volume is sold by many bookstores or can be ordered by direct mail from Sierra Club Store Orders, 730 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109 at $29.95 each plus $4.50 postage and handling.
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Copyright 1988 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Marine Fisheries Review
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Sep 22, 1988
Previous Article:1989 World Record Game Fishes.
Next Article:National Leaders of American Conservation.

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