Technically, this isn’t my first book review. My post discussing The Little Prince and The Alchemist kind of was, but in a much more personal way. This time, I actually tried my hand at writing an honest, professional review on Goodreads.com (find me here!). Tell me if you like what you see and if you’ve read this book before; I’d be curious to hear what you thought about it.
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
First Along the River by Benjamin Kline chronologically tells the history of the U.S. environmental movement from early philosophical relationships with nature to the BP Oil Spill. It also manages to keep each chapter within an average of 20 pages or so, making each time period discussed relatively “brief”.
Sometimes the language Kline uses can be very plain and pedantic, but the content that he provides and the way in which he provides it makes up for this possible negative factor. Conveniently, the sources he cites within each chapter are listed before each new chapter begins, and along with a larger bibliography and suggested reading list at the end of the book, there is a glossary of common terms and people dealing with the U.S. environmental movement. If, however, there is a term that cannot be found in Kline’s book alone, one will probably have to look it up elsewhere.
Because of its desire for brevity, Kline’s book is a very good supplement to other complimentary books about the U.S. environmental movement. As a standalone book, this edition and its predecessors have done a very good job at detailing the most important parts of how the U.S. environmental movement has progressed throughout history. Yet in order to use it to its fullest potential, one would mostly use it alongside a more encompassing book—a textbook or study guide, for example—for reference, or a quick brush-up on murky areas dealing with certain environmental issues. Overall, however, Kline’s book is very detailed, informative, and, even at times, enlightening.
Highly recommended to anyone who is studying environmental science and environmental history, or to anyone that wishes to learn about another perspective on United States history.