Envirotech book wins ASEH Marsh Prize

Timothy J. LeCain’s Mass Destruction: The Men and Giant Mines That Wired America and Scarred the Planet won the George Perkins Marsh Prize from the ASEH because it is gutsy, eloquently written and narrated, and carefully argued. It is a fine example of “envirotech” scholarship, a sub-field within environmental history concerned with the intersection of technological systems and their inventors, the science that underscores those systems, the environments that comprise or fuel those systems and, more often than not, the landscapes that are utterly destroyed by them. Continue reading

Tim LeCain’s book chosen as “Outstanding Academic Title for 2009”

Timothy LeCain’s new envirotech book, Mass Destruction: The Men and Giant Mines That Wired America and Scarred the Planet (Rutgers University Press, 2009), has been chosen as an “Outstanding Academic Title for 2009” by Choice, the review journal of the American Library Association. Every year in the January issue, in print and online, Choice publishes a list of Outstanding Academic Titles that were reviewed during the previous calendar year. This prestigious list reflects the best of the more than 7,000 scholarly titles reviewed by Choice that year and brings with it the extraordinary recognition of the academic library community. Mass Destruction, the Choice review notes, is a “skillfully and eloquently written” work whose “clarity and reason . . . should appeal to a wide audience.” More information and all the latest reviews of Mass Destruction are available at the author’s website: http://www.timothyjameslecain.com/

New book: Perilous Place, Powerful Storms: Hurricane Protection in Coastal Louisiana

The University Press of Mississippi will release Craig Colten’s new book, Perilous Place, Powerful Storms:  Hurricane Protection in Coastal Louisiana in July 2009.

The hurricane protection systems that failed New Orleans when Katrina roared on shore in 2005 were the product of four decades of engineering hubris, excruciating delays, and social conflict. In Perilous Place, Powerful Storms, Craig E. Colten traces the protracted process of erecting massive structures designed to fend off tropical storms and examines how human actions and inactions left the system incomplete on the eve of its greatest challenge.

For more information see: http://www.upress.state.ms.us/books/1177

New book: Horses at Work

Horses at Work: Harnessing Power in Industrial America
Ann Norton Greene
Harvard University Press, 2008

Historians have long assumed that new industrial machines and power sources eliminated work animals from nineteenth-century America, yet a bird’s-eye view of nineteenth-century society would show millions of horses supplying the energy necessary for industrial development. Horses were ubiquitous in cities and on farms, providing power for transportation, construction, manufacturing, and agriculture. On Civil War battlefields, thousands of horses labored and died for the Union and the Confederacy hauling wagons and mechanized weaponry.

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Envirotechie Joel Tarr receives SHOT’s Leonardo da Vinci Medal

The Society for the History of Technology honored long-time envirotechie Joel Tarr with the Leonardo da Vinci Medal during the Lisbon Annual Meeting in October 2008. The Leonardo da Vinci Medal is the highest recognition from SHOT and is awarded to individuals for their “outstanding contribution to the history of technology, through research, teaching, publications, and other activities.”

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New book: America’s Forested Wetlands

A new book from envirotechie Jeffrey K. Stine: America’s Forested Wetlands: From Wasteland to Valued Resource

From the darkest, most forbidding swamp to the smallest soggy bog at the side of a housing development, wetlands provide invaluable ecological services to life on earth. Yet, prior to the 1930s, few people worried about the mounting loss of these essential landscapes.

America’s Forested Wetlands chronicles the history of American attitudes and actions toward the ambiguous transitional areas between dry land and open water. From the clear-cutting of cypress swamps and the wholesale filling and draining of marshes and bottomlands to the growing recognition of how these lands contribute to flood control, water quality, and biological diversity and on to today’s energetic political debates over “no net loss” policies designed to protect, enhance, restore, or recreate wetlands, the story involves increasing human understanding and appreciation of an important but limited resource.

America’s Forest Wetlands addresses one of the most persistent and contentious issues in natural resources management and offers an essential primer for landowners, teachers, students, journalists, and government decision makers and advisors.

To order, contact the Forest History Society at 919/682-9319, or order online at www.foresthistory.org.

New envirotech PhD!

Finn Arne Jørgensen successfully defended his PhD dissertation “The infrastructure of everyday environmentalism: Tomra and the reverse vending machine, 1970-2000” Friday November 23, 2007. The dissertation examines the parallel technical development of reverse vending machines for the return of empty beverage containers and the cultural context of beverage container recycling.

For more information, see http://finnarne.jorgensenweb.net/