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December 2017 Vol. 55 No. 4

Utah State University Press

The following review appeared in the December 2017 issue of CHOICE. The review is for your internal use only. Please review our Permission and Reprints Guidelines or email

Social & Behavioral Sciences
Political Science - U.S. Politics

Nelson, Daniel. Nature's burdens: conservation and American politics, the Reagan era to the present. Utah State, 2016 (c2017). 312p bibl index ISBN 9781607325697 pbk, $25.95; ISBN 9781607325703 ebook, contact publisher for price.

With his new book, Nelson (Univ. of Akron) fills an important space in the world of environmental policy writing. He focuses on the last 45 years of conservation policy activity in the US and does so in a way that sets those decades in the larger context of conservation work in the last 120 years. Whether covering shifts in scientific understanding of conservation or exploring the role of environmental activists on issues ranging from species survival to forest protection to grazing on public lands, Nelson lays out the important successes and failures in protecting the natural environment. Taking advantage of a much wider set of scholarly sources than existed even 20 years ago, the author delves into an array of topics related to conservation science, policy, and politics. The strength of Nelson’s work lies in his ability to lay out the changes in conservation policies over time without getting bogged down in any one place. He lays out sufficient detail to make his points, then moves on to the next critical topic, such as ecosystem management, ecological corridors, or the evolution of national parks. Readers see forest and trees.

--M. C. Stephan, Washington State University

Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates through faculty.