With the arrival of European explorers and settlers during the seventeenth century, Native American ways of life and the environment itself underwent radical alterations as human relationships to the land and ways of thinking about nature all changed. This colonial ecological revolution held sway until the nineteenth century, when New England's industrial production brought on a capitalist revolution that again remade the ecology, economy, and conceptions of nature in the region. In "Ecological Revolutions," Carolyn Merchant analyzes these two major transformations in the New England environment between 1600 and 1860.
In a preface to the second edition, Merchant introduces new ideas about narrating environmental change based on gender and the dialectics of transformation, while the revised epilogue situates New England in the context of twenty-first-century globalization and climate change. Merchant argues that past ways of relating to the land could become an inspiration for renewing resources and achieving sustainability in the future.
A fresh approach to American environmental history. . . . Merchant's work makes a significant contribution not only in enriching the field but also in stimulating further work.--The Journal of American History
Merchant has the gift of being able to make plain dirt interesting.--American Historical Review
A meticulous analysis. . . . Merchant presents a fine synthesis of early source materials and recent historical scholarship in a closely argued interpretive framework.--Gender and History
[This book's] scholarship, style and quality of argument should give it a place on the shelves of any investigator of the environment.--International Journal of Environmental Studies
A distinctive, important addition to the theory and practice of environmental history.--Pacific Historical Review
Merchant's search for a usable past recovers plenty of non-patriarchal, nature venerating, animistic, self-sufficient, communalist alternatives in New England's history. . . . Ecological Revolutions
is a firm indication of the increasing scope and ambition of environmental history as a second generation of practitioners emerges.--Journal of American Studies
Studying ecological transformations, Merchant includes fascinating analyses of the cultures that corresponded to them. . . . [Her] innovative theoretical approach and her political vision make a substantial contribution to the field.--American Quarterly