New Nonfiction: Rightful Heritage – Douglas Brinkley

Historian Brinkley has written a number of books about America and the environment. They include The Great Deluge (about hurricane Katrina), Quiet World (about the battle to preserve the Alaska’s wilderness) and 2009’s Wilderness Warrior, his stirring examination of Teddy Roosevelt’s crusade to preserve the wilderness landscapes throughout America. This new book is a kind of follow-up to that title: Rightful Heritage reveals Franklin Roosevelt’s commitment to conservation and shows the breathtaking scope of what was accomplished.

Fellow historian Sean Wilentz puts Brinkley’s new book into context: “Rightful Heritage is a marvelous book in every sense; one of Douglas Brinkley’s very best. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s achievements in conservation helped preserve the nation’s natural bounty, but also made it accessible to the citizenry as never before. An easily forgotten legacy of the New Deal, those achievements presaged bold efforts at global conservation during World War II. By telling this grand story so well, Brinkley provokes readers to appreciate how, with great leadership and sufficient political will, the national government can perform wonders of its own.”

Publicity includes a USA Today review as well as an interview on Huff Post Live—and we expect ongoing publicity during this 100th anniversary of the National Parks Service.

From childhood, Roosevelt was taken by the natural surroundings of his Hudson River home, and as he emerged to greatness he never lost his interest in preserving natural habitats as state and national parks, wildlife refuges, monuments, and forests—especially those lands near American cities. Brinkley, who in Wilderness Warrior wrote about Theodore Roosevelt’s outdoorsmanship, makes a solid, if mostly unstated, case that F.D.R.’s conservationist record is as important as his cousin’s….Brinkley’s book adds significantly to knowledge of F.D.R. as both man and president, and ranks among the best books on this major historical figure.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Having grown up with an interest in nature, and especially in birds, FDR took time as an officeholder in New York to preserve state lands and create parks; among his campaigns was one to convert the entire Catskills Mountains region into a protected conservation district, if not a state park, that mixed private and public ownership. As governor of New York, he assembled his first “brain trusts,” and among the first of these was one devoted to forestry and agronomy. As president, he famously initiated such environmental programs as the Civilian Conservation Corps, using an earlier idea of “forestry as work-relief” to gain bipartisan support for other planks of the New Deal…. [B]rightly written, highly useful argument, especially in a time when the public domain is under siege.
Kirkus Reviews

Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America (9780062089236) by Douglas Brinkley. $35.00 hardcover. 3/15/16 one day laydown.

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