The Humboldt Current: Nineteenth-Century Exploration and the Roots of American Environmentalism

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9780143111924: The Humboldt Current: Nineteenth-Century Exploration and the Roots of American Environmentalism

While everyone has heard of the 'Humboldt Current', few know anything of the man after whom it was named. Yet Alexander von Humboldt was a towering figure of his time - scientist, explorer, and polymath, imbued with Enlightenment ideas - and he left a profound impact on the intellectual life of 19th century America. Aaron Sachs' colourful intellectual history rescues Humboldt from obscurity, and reveals the impact of a single European on both American thought and the environmental movement.

Aaron Sachs traces Humboldt's legacy by focusing not only on the man himself but on the lives of other remarkable individuals who took their lead from him - explorers of the American mid-West, alienated Romantics, seminal American writers and artists, who together laid the groundwork for the great ecological tradition in 19th century America.

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Review:

Through the lives of Americans who followed or echoed Humboldt, this fascinating, insightful book gives us a brilliant new account of U.S. geography and ecology, exploration and eccentricity. ( Felipe Fernandez-Armesto, Prince of Asturias Professor at Tufts University, and Professorial Fellow of Queen Mary, University of London)

...a dazzling debut performance by a young scholar-writer of extraordinary gifts. The book itself is a gift?carefully researched, and beautifully expressed, and deeply humane, understanding. The current of Humboldt's influence was vast indeed; it embraced many cultural luminaries of the 19th century, and still reaches out toward all of us today. This is one of those rare works in which historical learning makes a lasting difference on our way of seeing both past and present worlds. ( John Demos, Samuel Knight Professor of History, Yale University)

In this groundbreaking book, Aaron Sachs plucks from relative obscurity the 19th-century Prussian scientist Alexander von Humboldt and demonstrates his profound, lasting influence on many aspects of American culture, including literature, art, science, and environmentalism. ( David S. Reynolds, Distinguished Professor of English and American Studies at the City University of New York)

Alexander von Humboldt - the last "universal man," according to historian Hugh Trevor-Roper - was one of my heroes, as were the explorer-scientists of the American West, and as were their contemporaries, poets and writers such as Whitman and Thoreau, precursors of cosmic consciousness and American environmentalism. But it never occurred to me to bring them all together in one all-encompassing, yet detailed, narrative. That is left to Aaron Sachs in a work of striking originality, meticulous scholarship, and deep humanist sympathy. ( Yi-Fu Tuan, Emeritus Professor of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Madison)

Brilliant, imaginative, and bold. Like the great Humboldt, Sachs has taken us to new worlds, given us new meanings. ( Donald Worster, Hall Distinguished Professor of American History at the University of Kansas)

About the Author:

Aaron Sachs is Assistant Professor of Intellectual History at Cornell University.

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Book Description Penguin Books, United States, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 211 x 137 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. A masterly and beautifully written account of the impact of Alexander von Humboldt on nineteenth-century American history and culture The naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt (1769?1859) achieved unparalleled fame in his own time. Today, however, he and his enormous legacy to American thought are virtually unknown. In The Humboldt Current, Aaron Sachs traces Humboldt s pervasive influence on American history through examining the work of four explorers?J. N. Reynolds, Clarence King, George Wallace, and John Muir?who embraced Humboldt s idea of a ?chain of connection? uniting all peoples and all environments. A skillful blend of narrative and interpretation that also discusses Humboldt s influence on Emerson, Whitman, Thoreau, Melville, and Poe, The Humboldt Current offers a colorful, passionate, and superbly written reinterpretation of nineteenth-century American history. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780143111924

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Book Description Penguin Books, United States, 2007. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Reprint. 211 x 137 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. A masterly and beautifully written account of the impact of Alexander von Humboldt on nineteenth-century American history and culture The naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt (1769?1859) achieved unparalleled fame in his own time. Today, however, he and his enormous legacy to American thought are virtually unknown. In The Humboldt Current, Aaron Sachs traces Humboldt s pervasive influence on American history through examining the work of four explorers?J. N. Reynolds, Clarence King, George Wallace, and John Muir?who embraced Humboldt s idea of a ?chain of connection? uniting all peoples and all environments. A skillful blend of narrative and interpretation that also discusses Humboldt s influence on Emerson, Whitman, Thoreau, Melville, and Poe, The Humboldt Current offers a colorful, passionate, and superbly written reinterpretation of nineteenth-century American history. Bookseller Inventory # AAS9780143111924

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Book Description Paperback. Book Condition: New. 141mm x 28mm x 212mm. Paperback. A masterly and beautifully written account of the impact of Alexander von Humboldt on nineteenth-century American history and cultureThe naturalist and explorer Alexander von Humboldt (176.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 496 pages. 0.454. Bookseller Inventory # 9780143111924

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