From Publishers Weekly:
The felling of a celebrated giant golden spruce tree in British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Islands takes on a potent symbolism in this probing study of an unprecedented act of eco-vandalism. First-time author Vaillant, who originally wrote about the death of the spruce for the New Yorker, profiles the culprit, an ex-logger turned messianic environmentalist who toppled the famous treethe only one of its kindto protest the destruction of British Columbia's old-growth forest, then soon vanished mysteriously. Vaillant also explores the culture and history of the Haida Indians who revered the tree, and of the logging industry that often expresses an elegiac awe for the ancient trees it is busily clear-cutting. Writing in a vigorous, evocative style, Vaillant portrays the Pacific Northwest as a region of conflict and violence, from the battles between Europeans and Indians over the 18th-century sea otter trade to the hard-bitten, macho milieu of the logging camps, where grisly death is an occupational hazard. It is also, in his telling, a land of virtually infinite natural resources overmatched by an even greater human rapaciousness. Through this archetypal story of "people fail[ing] to see the forest for the tree," Vaillant paints a haunting portrait of man's vexed relationship with nature. Photos.
Woven throughout the book are great historical portions chronicling America's history with the use and destruction of the land's forests. The Golden Spruce is a great book for anyone who likes to learn about history and culture as well as be entertained with a good story at the same time. I definitely have a new respect for trees ever since reading this book.
Really got into this book. It's a look at a man whose lifestyle created such conflicts in himself, he mentally broke down and did a terrible act of vandalism on a centuries old tree. Somehow you do empathize with his condition, though. The writer does a great job.
Great book covering the issues of the logging industry in British Columbia, and one man's quest to make a statement about the environmental damage being done, focusing on an anomaly of nature - the Haida Indian's revered Golden Spruce.
Very interesting book, not only about the dead tree, but the area history, from fur trade with China to ship repair industry in Hawaii to early tree chopping to clear cutting of a vast, exhaustable resource that once extended from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The word firestorm comes from... Michigan! Today, the demand for lumber has divers logging at the bottom of the Great Lakes for rare wood.
The book, however, is focused on the disappearance -murder?- of a man who cut down a sacred mutant tree to protest the rampant cutting.