Caroline Ford is Professor of History at the University of California, Los Angeles.
This interesting and thought-provoking book looks at the start of
environmental awareness with innovative legislation to protect the
Fontainebleau landscape and its oak trees. * The Connexion *
By tracking individual engagement, public concern, and state responsibility, Ford reveals the evolving character and widening scope of environmental awareness and activity in France from the 1800s to the 1930s, from forest regeneration to the 'greening' of Paris. But she also exposes the tensions within that movement and illuminatingly situates French experience within a critical narrative of colonial expansion and transnational exchange. This is a book to interest environmental and imperial historians as much as historians of the making of modern France. -- David Arnold, author of The Problem of Nature
Seldom does one encounter a book that crosses national and disciplinary boundaries with such ease and force of persuasion. Ford's argument is bold yet meticulously researched. It details the emergence in modern France and its empire of an environmental consciousness that encompassed new cultural sensibilities, new forms of expertise and protection, new bodies of knowledge-not to mention leisure, tourism, urban green spaces, garden cities, and so much more. With its broad range, this environmental history shines a new light on our understandings of nation-states, empires, and transnational circulations. Whether they are environmental historians or not, scholars will need to read this beautifully crafted and boundary-shifting book. -- Stephane Gerson, author of The Pride of Place
A fascinating book reflecting wide-ranging research. Natural Interests revises our understanding of the history of the environment in France. -- Eric Jennings, author of Imperial Heights
This thoughtful analysis of the people, documents, and controversies evoked by ecological themes in France since the revolution highlights the play of anxiety and nostalgia that underpinned sites of consciousness and trajectories in environmental actions and policies. -- G. W. McDonogh * Choice *