The life of the visionary conservationist who created the Appalachian Trail is chronicled in this “first-rate biography of a unique American thinker” (Mark Harvey, Journal of American History).
Born in 1879, Wilderness Society cofounder Benton MacKaye was a pioneer in linking the concepts of preservation and recreation. Spanning three-quarters of a century, his career had a major impact on emerging movements in conservation, environmentalism, and regional planning. MacKaye's seminal ideas on outdoor recreation, wilderness protection, land-use planning, community development, and transportation have inspired generations of activists, professionals, and adventurers seeking to strike a harmonious balance between human need and the natural environment.
This pathbreaking biography provides the first complete portrait of this significant figure in American environmental, intellectual, and cultural history. Drawing on extensive research, Larry Anderson traces MacKaye's extensive career, examines his many published works, and describes the importance of MacKaye's relationships with such influential figures as Lewis Mumford, Aldo Leopold, and Walter Lippmann.