A tale of obsession so fierce that a man kills the thing he loves most: the only giant golden spruce on earth.
When a shattered kayak and camping gear are found on an uninhabited island in the Pacific Northwest, they reignite a mystery surrounding a shocking act of protest. Five months earlier, logger-turned-activist Grant Hadwin had plunged naked into a river in British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Islands, towing a chainsaw. When his night's work was done, a unique Sitka spruce, 165 feet tall and covered with luminous golden needles, teetered on its stump. Two days later it fell.
As vividly as John Krakauer puts readers on Everest, John Vaillant takes us into the heart of North America's last great forest.
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 tree the only one of its kind to 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 to see the forest for the tree," Vaillant paints a haunting portrait of man's vexed relationship with nature. Photos.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I handed this book out like Bibles.
...rich in content, color and texture.
The Golden Spruce
This is an excellent, well-written book. Vaillant has done an extraordinary amount of research and distilled it into a highly palatable and enjoyable account of a very bizarre true story. Highly recommended!