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Leave It As It Is: A Journey Through Theodore Roosevelt's American Wilderness Paperback – August 3, 2021
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“Leave it as it is,” Theodore Roosevelt announced while viewing the Grand Canyon for the first time. “The ages have been at work on it and man can only mar it.” Roosevelt’s pronouncement signaled the beginning of an environmental fight that still wages today. To reconnect with the American wilderness and with the president who courageously protected it, acclaimed nature writer and New York Times bestselling author David Gessner embarks on a great American road trip guided by Roosevelt’s crusading environmental legacy.
Gessner travels to the Dakota badlands where Roosevelt awakened as a naturalist; to Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon where Roosevelt escaped during the grind of his reelection tour; and finally, to Bears Ears, Utah, a monument proposed by Native Tribes that is currently embroiled in a national conservation fight. Along the way, Gessner questions and reimagines Roosevelt’s vision for today’s lands.
“Insightful, observant, and wry,” (BookPage) Leave It As It Is offers an arresting history of Roosevelt’s pioneering conservationism, a powerful call to arms, and a profound meditation on our environmental future.
"Gessner is an old-school wilderness-besotted warrior-poet. This book stands as a forceful reminder that, in his words, "no matter how often public lands are 'saved,' they are never really safe." Rarely is a battle cry so pleasurable to read, or pleasure so infuriating."
—Robert Moor, New York Times bestselling author of On Trails: An Exploration
“A passionate and timely argument for public lands, a brilliant exploration of Teddy Roosevelt's life and love of nature, and a wickedly wonderful read. Leave It As It Is is as thoughtful, articulate, brave, full of vigor, and dedicated to spinning thought into action as Theodore Roosevelt himself was.”
—Jennifer Ackerman, New York Times bestselling author of The Genius of Birds and The Bird Way
“Of all that has been written about Teddy Roosevelt, this engaging book best captures TR's relentless passion for land and wildness as well as his fierceness in protecting them. David Gessner displays the full reach of Roosevelt’s vision for conservation.”
—Charles Wilkinson, Distinguished Professor Emeritus at the University of Colorado and author of Crossing the Next Meridian
“Leave It As It Is will stretch your imagination—and it may convince you to stretch your legs in some of the remarkable terrain Roosevelt helped preserve. Theodore Roosevelt will always be a problematic character, but as Gessner shows, there are ways in which he was stretching towards the future we inhabit, and towards the past we should not destroy.”
—Bill McKibben, author of Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?
“David Gessner’s scholarship, observations, and assessment of the American West comes not a minute too late. Any thunder we hear now is Theodore Roosevelt rolling over in his grave as the Trump administration proceeds with its feckless policies to liquidate our sacred public lands.”
—Rick Bass, author of For a Little While
“Facing the possible end of American democracy, Gessner revivified Theodore Roosevelt and took him west on a roadtrip to survey his legacy. At the top of his game, Gessner’s strong, intimate voice takes you along and you’ll be glad you went. What more could we need now than to remember what a president could be: a pugilist with a moral backbone, a Harvard-trained naturalist, a lover of literature who writes and speaks in complete sentences, and someone who, if born into wealth, values it far less than beauty and the survival of life on earth.”
—Jordan Fisher Smith, author of Engineering Eden
"This combination of environmental journalism, biography, and travelog introduces fascinating characters who will engage readers of environmental literature as well as Roosevelt enthusiasts."
“Gessner delivers a thoughtful consideration of Theodore Roosevelt’s conservation legacy as president….[An] excellent look at the origins of environmentalism and an inspiring call to build upon what Roosevelt and other early environmentalists started.”
“Insightful, observant and wry, writing with his heart on his well-traveled sleeve and a laser focus on the stunning beauty of the parks, Gessner shares an epic road trip through these storied lands.”
"As we face environmental dangers unimagined in Roosevelt’s day, Mr. Gessner asks what TR would do with our surviving wilderness. The impassioned response: Leave it as it is."
—Wall Street Journal
About the Author
- Publisher : Simon & Schuster (August 3, 2021)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 352 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1982105054
- ISBN-13 : 978-1982105051
- Item Weight : 9.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 5.5 x 1 x 8.38 inches
- Best Sellers Rank: #103,625 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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Second, the book combines a likeable travelogue of TR-related sites with visionary, perhaps profound, insights into the need to preserve wilderness. Suffice it to say that those arguments go beyond mere sightseeing or even the wrongs done to Native Americans. Gessner also skewers those who argue against conservation as effectively as any writer I have read. I sometimes gloss over books that quote extensively from other experts, but in "Leave It As It Is" no quote is wasted, regardless how long, not only to show the evolution of the writer's own thinking but for general interest as well.
Simply indispensable among books this field even for someone like myself who has already gone through a bookshelf of writings by and about Roosevelt.
PS - Those readers who dinged the book because it criticizes our immediate past President have their heads buried in sand. If the chapter on Bears Ears National Monument doesn't convince you that your guy was corrupt, nothing will.
The first few chapters were okay, though I started to grow weary of Gessner's repeated rants about our current administration, as well as Theodore Roosevelt's "bloodlust", and sins of "Nationalism" and "Manifest Destiny". Those rants and opinions grow more and more frequent until finally in Chapter 5 Gessner admits the true purpose of this book-
To write a book..."about intertwining the story of the original wielder of the Antiquities Act with the story of Bears Ears National Monument."
This book is not "a journey through Theodore Roosevelts American Wilderness", it is little more than a well-researched rant about the authors displeasure with our current administrations handling of national monuments.
If you're looking for a true look at Theodore Roosevelt and his legacy of protecting our wild places, Douglas Brinkley's "Wilderness Warrior" is the book you're looking for.