No one did more than Marjory Stoneman Douglas to transform the
Everglades from the country's most maligned swamp into its most
beloved wetland. By the late twentieth century, her name and her
classic The Everglades: River of Grass had become
synonymous with Everglades protection. The crusading resolve and
boundless energy of this implacable elder won the hearts of an
admiring public while confounding her opponents-growth merchants
intent on having their way with the Everglades. Douglas's efforts
ultimately earned her a place among a mere handful of individuals
honored as a namesake of a national wilderness area.
In the first comprehensive biography of Douglas, Jack E. Davis
explores the 108-year life of this compelling woman. Douglas was
more than an environmental activist. She was a suffragist, a
lifetime feminist and supporter of the ERA, a champion of social
justice, and an author of diverse literary talent. She came of age
literally and professionally during the American environmental
century, the century in which Americans mobilized an unprecedented
popular movement to counter the equally unprecedented liberties
they had taken in exploiting, polluting, and destroying the natural
The Everglades were a living barometer of America's often
tentative shift toward greater environmental responsibility.
Reconstructing this larger picture, Davis recounts the shifts in
Douglas's own life and her instrumental role in four important
developments that contributed to Everglades protection: the making
of a positive wetland image, the creation of a national park, the
expanding influence of ecological science, and the rise of the
modern environmental movement. In the grand but beleaguered
Everglades, which Douglas came to understand is a vast natural
system that supports human life, she saw nature's providence.
Subjects: History, Environmental Science
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