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A Sand County Almanac

by AIdo Leopold
Illustrated by CHARLES W. SCHWARTZ
Introduction by ROBERT FINCH
The seminal essay: The Land Ethic

"THERE are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot. These essays are the delights and dilemmas of one who cannot.

Like winds and sunsets, wild things were taken for granted until progress began to do away with them. Now we face the question whether a still higher 'standard of living' is worth its cost in things natural, wild, and free. For us of the minority, the opportunity to see geese is more important than television, and the chance to find a pasque-flower is a right as inalienable as free speech.

These wild things, I admit, had little human value until mechanization assured us of a good breakfast, and until science disclosed the drama of where they come from and how they live. The whole conflict thus boils down to question of degree. We of the minority see a law of diminishing returns in progress, our opponents do not.

One must make shift with things as they are. These essays are my shifts. They are grouped in three parts...."
(from Aldo Leopold's forward to A Sand County Almanac)

No other single book of American nature writing—with the exception of Waldenhas achieved such lasting stature as A Sand County Almanac. Since it was first published by Oxford in 1949, one year after the author's death, it has become an established classic in the field, admired by an ever-growing number of readers, imitated by hundreds of writers, and providing the core for modern conservation ethics.

Yet its broad appeal and influence have never been fully accounted for. It may appear obvious to say that A Sand County Almanac would not have had nearly as much effect on its readers if it had not been, first and foremost, highly successful as a book, that is, as a reading experience. Obvious perhaps, but not commonly recognized. Much has been written about Aldo Leopold the forester, Leopold the wildlife ecologist, Leopold the conservationist, Leopold the environmental philosopher and educator, and so on—but little about Leopold the writer. This is true of nature writers in general, who continue to be looked upon as naturalists ( or almost anything else ) first and writers last. But the situation is complicated in Leopold's case in that he was an extraordinarily gifted and energetic man who, during his life time, achieved substantial reputations in several nonliterary fields..."
--Robert Finch

"Outdoor prose writing at its best .... A trenchant book, full of beauty and vigor and bite .... All through it is [Leopold's] deep love for a healthy land."
        The New York Times Book Review

"This special edition of the highly acclaimed A Sand County Almanac commemorates the one-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Aldo Leopold, one of the foremost conservationists of our century. First published in 1949, Leopold's tour de force combines some of the finest nature writing since Thoreau with an outspoken and high ethical regard for America's relationship to the land. As the foreunner of such important books as Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire, and Robert Finch's The Primal Place, this classic work remains as relevant today as it was forty years ago."

"There is a rudeness and vigor to Leopold's writing that goes direct to the heart of the subject - to the heart of the reader .... one of the seminal works of the environmental movement."
        The Boston Globe

"One of the most beautiful, heart-warming, and important nature Books to appear in years."
        The Chicago Tribune

"We may count ourselves lucky to have this final testament of a man who was not only an expert in forestry, ecology, and game management, but an exceptionally sensitive and subtle appreciator and communicator."

"We can place this book on the shelf that holds the writings of Thoreau and John Muir."        
        The San Francisco Chronicle

Aldo Leopold, long a member of the National Wildlife Federation, Conservation Hall of Fame, was posthumously honored in 1978 with the John Burroughs Medal in tribute to a lifetime of work in conservation and, in particular, for A Sand County Almanac.

Robert Finch is the author of The Primal Place and Common Ground & A Naturalist'.s Cape Cod.

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

Leopold, Aldo, 1886-1948. A Sand County Almanac, and sketches here and there.
1. Natural history—Outdoor books.2. Nature conservation—United states.        
3. Natural history—outdoor books. 1. Title.
Q1181. L56 1987 508.73         87-22015
ISBN 0-19-505305 2
ISBN 0-19-505928-X (PBK.)
First published in 1949 by Oxford University Press, lnc., 200 Madison Avenue, New York, New York 10016
Special commemorative edition first issued as an Oxford University Press paperback, 1989

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