From pre-European contact to the present day, people living in what is now the United States have constantly manipulated their environment. The use of natural resources – animals, plants, minerals, water, and land – has produced both prosperity and destruction, reshaping the land and human responses to it. The Environment in American History is a clear and comprehensive account that vividly shows students how the environment played a defining role in the development of American society.

Organized in thirteen chronological chapters, and extensively illustrated, the book covers themes including:

  • Native peoples’ manipulation of the environment across various regions
  • The role of Old World livestock and diseases in European conquests
  • Plantation agriculture and slavery
  • Westward expansion and the exploitation of natural resources
  • Environmental influences on the Civil War and World War II
  • The emergence and development of environmental activism
  • Industrialization, and the growth of cities and suburbs
  • Ecological restoration and climate change

Each chapter includes a selection of primary documents, and the book is supported by a robust companion website that provides further resources for students and instructors. Drawing on current scholarship, Jeff Crane has created a vibrant and engaging survey that is a key resource for all students of American environmental history.

chapter 1|29 pages

Faith in a Generous Land

chapter 2|30 pages

Pathogens and Plows in the Land of Plenty

chapter 3|26 pages

A Great Fur and Hide Marketplace

chapter 4|34 pages

A Great Farming Nation

chapter 5|26 pages

“A Newer Garden of Creation”

chapter 6|34 pages

Naturally Horrifying

Environment in the Civil War

chapter 7|35 pages

Western Lands of Wealth and Violence

chapter 8|34 pages

Conserving Resources, Saving Sacred Spaces, and Cleaning the Cities

America in the Conservation Era

chapter 10|30 pages

Abundance and Terror

Americans in World War II

chapter 12|36 pages

Environmental Reform and Schism

chapter 13|32 pages

A Time of Environmental Contradictions

chapter |7 pages


The Greatest Peril of Abundance