TREES IN PARADISE: THE BOTANICAL CONQUEST OF CALIFORNIA
At the intersection of plants and politics, Trees in Paradise is an examination of ecological myth making and conquest. The first Americans who looked out over California saw arid grasslands and chaparral, and over the course of generations, they remade those landscapes according to the aesthetic values and economic interests of settlers, urban planners, and boosters. In the San Fernando Valley, entrepreneurs amassed fortunes from vast citrus groves; in the Bay Area, gum trees planted to beautify neighborhoods fed wildfires; and across the state, the palm came to stand for the ease and luxury of the rapidly expanding suburbs. Meanwhile, thousands of native redwoods and sequoias were logged to satisfy the insatiable urbanizing impulse. Revealing differing visions of what California should and could be, this natural and unnatural history unravels the network of forces that shape our most fundamental sense of place.
“Knowledgeable, wise, and compelling, Farmer’s book uncovers the subtle and surprising webs connecting the social, cultural, and natural worlds of California, and the planet.”—Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
“An important addition to the California bookshelf.”—Los Angeles Times
“This brilliant new work of California history is a magnificent achievement.”—William Deverell, Director, Huntington-USC Institute on California and the West