With Dis­tance in His Eyes

The En­vi­ron­men­tal Life and Legacy of Ste­wart Udall

Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight Reviews -

Scott Ray­mond Ein­berger, Univer­sity of Ne­vada Press (APRIL) Hard­cover $34.95 (316pp), 978-1-943859-62-7

This care­fully re­searched, ab­sorb­ing biography doc­u­ments the re­mark­able en­vi­ron­men­tal legacy of Ste­wart Udall.

The Wash­ing­ton DC head­quar­ters of the Depart­ment of the In­te­rior is named after Ste­wart Lee Udall. This ex­cel­lent book by en­vi­ron­men­tal his­to­rian Scott Ein­berger ex­plains why. In eight years as Sec­re­tary of the In­te­rior un­der Pres­i­dents Kennedy and John­son, Udall’s ac­com­plish­ments were leg­endary. He had a di­rect im­pact on nat­u­ral re­sources con­ser­va­tion, en­vi­ron­men­tal protection, land preser­va­tion, and the protection of en­dan­gered wildlife. Dur­ing his ten­ure, he wrote The Quiet Cri­sis, an en­vi­ron­men­tal his­tory that be­came a best­seller. Udall was an ac­tivist against air and wa­ter pol­lu­tion, and ut­tered the phrase “cli­mate change” long be­fore it gained no­to­ri­ety.

The book is log­i­cally di­vided into three parts: Udall’s for­ma­tive years, his body of work as US Sec­re­tary of the In­te­rior, and his life after pol­i­tics. Ein­berger traces Udall’s im­pres­sive ca­reer from his start as an Ari­zona con­gress­man through his cabi­net po­si­tion to his post-po­lit­i­cal life as a pri­vate cit­i­zen who con­tin­ued to pub­licly lead, speak, and write about en­vi­ron­men­tal is­sues. Through­out, Udall’s en­vi­ron­men­tal vi­sion and in­no­va­tion are high­lighted.

Ein­berger as­sesses Udall’s suc­cesses as owed to his con­ser­va­tion trips, his out­stand­ing staff, his writ­ing ex­per­tise, and his abil­ity to com­pro­mise. He was a ma­jor con­trib­u­tor to the pass­ing of at least four key en­vi­ron­men­tal acts, in­clud­ing the Wilder­ness Act and the En­dan­gered Species Preser­va­tion Act. Lesser known, per­haps, is the fact that Udall con­tin­ued his fight for en­vi­ron­men­tal qual­ity long after he de­parted the na­tion’s cap­i­tal.

Ex­ten­sive notes val­i­date the ma­te­rial in each chap­ter. Ein­berger draws per­cep­tive con­clu­sions about Udall’s life­work, in­clud­ing that he served “as a model for ‘work­ing to­gether’ and bi­par­ti­san­ship.” This is a rel­e­vant bi­o­graph­i­cal study of a sig­nif­i­cant Amer­i­can en­vi­ron­men­tal­ist.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.