Why did I love this book?
A true story of myth, madness, and greed, The Golden Spruce is one of those books that has hauntingly stuck with me since I read it. It’s the story of a forestry worker named Grant Hadwin who committed a bizarre act of environmental violence in Haida Gwaii and then mysteriously disappeared under suspicious circumstances. The book traces the life and career of Hadwin in an attempt to explain what possessed him to cut down a 300-year-old mystic golden Sitka Spruce known as Kiid K’iiyas, which has been a sacred part of the Haida People’s oral history for generations. John Vaillant’s description of the psychology of the man and the beauty of the wilderness in which Hadwin spent his life left such an impact on me that when I visited Haida Gwaii I hiked the trail to the now fallen sacred tree.