The Thumbnail Book Reviews

by John Q McDonald --- 7 July 2003

The Rediscovery of North America

by Barry Lopez

This is a tiny little book, belonging, it seems, to those large number of little pamphlets, monographs and polemics that were published after the grim terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. Its source seems to be a lecture, speech or essay by its author. In any case, it is an angry little book. Lopez looks at the origins of Europeans upon the North American continent and convincingly makes the link between the state of mind of explorers and exploiters of a seemingly unending supply of wealth, and the state of mind which prevails today, as we debate drilling for a tiny amount of oil in our last great wilderness while continuing to drive giant fuel-guzzling vehicles. Our wealth is indeed not infinite. I don't think anyone would argue that it is. But when and where do we say enough? Lopez asks this exact question. He rants a bit, and makes assertions that seem based more in personal conviction than in historical fact. But his sincerity cannot be denied, and his core thesis is certain. We must change our view of our relationship to our planet and its limited resources. Or we must, and what is more likely, perish.

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Also by Lopez: [Winter Count] [Of Wolves and Men]