Trees in Paradise: A California History

Trees in Paradise A California History California now has trees than at any time since the late Pleistocene This green landscape however is not the work of nature It s the work of history In the years after the Gold Rush American settle

  • Title: Trees in Paradise: A California History
  • Author: Jared Farmer
  • ISBN: 9780393078022
  • Page: 450
  • Format: Hardcover
  • California now has trees than at any time since the late Pleistocene This green landscape, however, is not the work of nature It s the work of history In the years after the Gold Rush, American settlers remade the California landscape, harnessing nature to their vision of the good life Horticulturists, boosters, and civic reformers began to improve the bare, broCalifornia now has trees than at any time since the late Pleistocene This green landscape, however, is not the work of nature It s the work of history In the years after the Gold Rush, American settlers remade the California landscape, harnessing nature to their vision of the good life Horticulturists, boosters, and civic reformers began to improve the bare, brown countryside, planting millions of trees to create groves, wooded suburbs, and landscaped cities They imported the blue green eucalypts whose tangy fragrance was thought to cure malaria They built the lucrative Orange Empire on the sweet juice and thick skin of the Washington navel, an industrial fruit They lined their streets with graceful palms to announce that they were not in the Midwest any To the north the majestic coastal redwoods inspired awe and invited exploitation A resource in the state, the durable heartwood of these timeless giants became infrastructure, transformed by the saw teeth of American enterprise By 1900 timber firms owned the entire redwood forest by 1950 they had clear cut almost all of the old growth trees.In time California s new landscape proved to be no paradise the eucalypts in the Berkeley hills exploded in fire the orange groves near Riverside froze on cold nights Los Angeles s palms harbored rats and dropped heavy fronds on the streets below Disease, infestation, and development all spelled decline for these nonnative evergreens In the north, however, a new forest of second growth redwood took root, nurtured by protective laws and sustainable harvesting Today there are California redwoods than there were a century ago.Rich in character and story, Trees in Paradise is a dazzling narrative that offers an insightful, new perspective on the history of the Golden State and the American West.

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    1. Not the book for which I was hoping, but solid nonetheless.Farmer wants to tell the story of California through four of its most iconic tree group s redwoods, eucalypts, citrus, and palms I don t think that he ever makes his broader case that California became modern via its trees he seems to have caught the academic historian s disease that every monograph fundamentally revises cultural history but he does convince me that trees were part of the modernization process he fits natural history int [...]

    2. Never has such a fascinating book been concealed by a prosaic title A book about trees for crying out loud But the book is really about the history of California and how the people used and were shaped by the iconic trees of California Redwoods, Eucalyptus, Citrus and Palms It is amazingly well researched and Jared Farmer s ability to translate our relationship with these trees into themes of indigenous nativism, immigration, business, and style is extremely entertaining There s a lot in this b [...]

    3. Jared Farmer, has written a unique and interesting book on the changing landscape of California from Gold Rush days to the present If it was not for the subtitle, A California History, one might presume that Trees in Paradise is simply a botany book Although the book s focus is on the big trees redwoods and giant sequoias , the eucalyptus from Australia , orange trees and palms, there is much Associated with the four major themes are a myriad of lesser topics including lumbering, Save the Redwo [...]

    4. This is a much needed book about the variety of the botanical life in the Golden State California is a rich land in every front And when it comes to trees, it has an astonishing amount of life to show for it.This is the cover of the book I read It is no coincidence that it shows a group of mad men trying to cut down a tree many times their group s size It is such a crime against nature what men are doing to the biosphere This is the editorial information of the book I read This particular editio [...]

    5. I gave up about halfway through There is interesting stuff in here, for sure, but Farmer s writing is so redundant that it is painful to pull out the good stuff It s a bummer, too I really wanted to like this book

    6. Kinda slow, but beautiful Meditative hyper specific history.

    7. On the West Coast, swampers redwood workers refereed to their coarse paths as skidroads, the source of the colloquial skid row 55 The eucalyptus bubble or boom of 1907 1913 differed qualitatively from the craze or excitement of the 1870s Back then, Ellwood Cooper and other horticulturalists worked to complement their small, diversified farms with beautiful and climate changing windbreaks By contrast, the new exponents of gum trees did not care about beauty, health, or even fuel Their sole concer [...]

    8. Redwoods, eucalypts, citrus, and palms all are iconic California trees and all have been greatly influenced by the activities of Californians These plants and their history in California are the subject of Jared Farmer s Trees in Paradise The book is split into four sections exploring how each group of species has been impacted by changing trends in timber production, conservation, agriculture, urbanization, and aesthetic tastes The author is a historian, not a botanist, as is evidenced by the f [...]

    9. A history of California from the perspective of four common trees The coastal and Sequoia redwoods represent the native trees, the object of extremes attempts both to exploit and to preserve The eucalyptus, introduced naively as a lumber producer and now loved as a familiar element of the landscape or reviled as a foreign invader The citrus, the high maintenance source of wealth than even the rich veins of the gold rush And the palm trees, some natives of the inland desert and others imports, b [...]

    10. I only read the first section, on redwood trees, for reference The author did a good job researching and provided resources for further study I came way with this realization nothing in California s landscape is natural Even the most natural seeming spots of wilderness are merely unpaved, or undeveloped in terms of building or road construction All plant life has been carefully selected and or allowed to remain.

    11. What a terrific alternative view of California history I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and it caused me to see trees that I d never seen before, especially the plethora of eucalyptus in southern California.

    12. I love trees, and California history is fascinating Put those two together and you have this book making a great read Super interesting perspective on the development of CA and how it has shaped the state it is today.

    13. Dense, lush with information and history of California s most iconic trees, branching the story of the state and people Good writing, good book, and some heavyweight reading.


    14. Lots of great History of California from the view of trees.

    15. Enjoyed the author s carefully neutral take on California history Good balance between tree focus and broader historical context Interesting lens on an interesting state s past.

    16. Careful, thorough, detailed, and madly in love with the subject matter Absolutely loved this.


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