“A brilliant rendering of what 'the open space of democracy' must be if we are to survive its present state of erosion.” –Terry Tempest Williams
The forgotten and “energetic” history of the extraordinary couple who rescued national parks from McCarthyism—and inspired a future of conservation (Wall Street Journal)
In late-1940s America, few writers commanded attention like Bernard DeVoto. Alongside his brilliant wife and editor, Avis, DeVoto was a firebrand of American liberty, free speech, and perhaps our greatest national treasure: public lands. But when a corrupt band of lawmakers, led by Senator Pat McCarran, sought to quietly cede millions of acres of national parks and other western lands to logging, mining, and private industry, the DeVotos entered the fight of their lives. Bernard and Avis built a broad grassroots coalition to sound the alarm—from Julia and Paul Child to Ansel Adams, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Alfred Knopf, Adlai Stevenson, and Wallace Stegner—while the very pillars of American democracy, embodied in free and public access to Western lands, hung in the balance. Their dramatic crusade would earn them censorship and blacklisting by Joe McCarthy, J. Edgar Hoover, and Roy Cohn, and it even cost Bernard his life.
In This America of Ours, award-winning journalist Nate Schweber uncovers the forgotten story of a progressive alliance that altered the course of twentieth-century history and saved American wilderness—and our country’s most fundamental ideals—from ruin.