A Sand County Almanac

By Aldo Leopold,

Book cover of A Sand County Almanac: And Sketches Here and There

Book description

Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac has enthralled generations of nature lovers and conservationists and is indeed revered by everyone seriously interested in protecting the natural world. Hailed for prose that is "full of beauty and vigor and bite" (The New York Times), it is perhaps the finest example of…

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Why read it?

6 authors picked A Sand County Almanac as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

Aldo Leopold was a Forest Service ranger stationed in New Mexico’s Gila National Forest when he first began advocating for a new approach to managing national forests. Leopold’s visionary thinking and diligent advocacy resulted in the first-ever Wilderness Area in the U.S.—the Gila Wilderness Area, established in 1922—more than 40 years before the Wilderness Act was passed by Congress in 1964. A Sand County Almanac is Leopold’s best-known work and follows his efforts to restore a patch of cut-over farmland in Wisconsin while also articulating his vision of a land ethic where humans and nature are intertwined and care for…

Largely forgotten when first published, Sand County rose to prominence after the first Earth Day on April 22, 1970, and since then it is sometimes mentioned in the same breath as Thoreau’s Walden and Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. I rediscovered this book after beginning work on my current project—a history of family dairy farmers and their struggles against endless enemies. I also have a geographic connection as I now live in Wisconsin and Leopold taught at the University of Wisconsin for many years and was research director of the UW Arboretum (which has over a dozen miles of trails…

My own book is the biography of an inspirational conservationist. It was he who prompted me to read A Sand County Almanac. This unassuming paperback was required text when he studied wildlife management and it fueled his desire to work with endangered species. Published the year after my birth, it is comparable in its beautiful language to David Thoreau’s Walden. My dog-eared copy is peppered with highlighter pen and pencil underlines that allow me to flick back through its pages to find extraordinary natural imagery and deep wisdom. Perhaps this classic’s lasting legacy is a reminder to value…

This book made a big impression worldwide. Leopold, coming from the angle of Ecology, was a naturalist seeing the big picture by looking at all of life, but with a historical reference. He noticed the prairie marshes shrinking and transforming into farmlands. He combined ecology with beauty and poetry and described in detail the glorious night display-dance of the woodcock that was to me then one of the most impressive of marvels and I felt empathy sharing that experience. 

Leopold put himself into the life of the habitat and its animal, and in pithy words with his own sketches describes…

From Bernd's list on nature and the study of life.

Published posthumously after Aldo Leopold’s 1948 death, A Sand County Almanac reflects Leopold’s hands-on experiences with ecology, from his early work for the Forest Service to his restoration of a mistreated farm near Baraboo, Wisconsin. Although Leopold co-invented (with Arthur Carhart) the “leave it alone” land management scheme of Forest Service wilderness, his mature philosophy differs in fundamental ways from John Muir. Muir was in favor of leaving nature alone to sort itself out. Leopold, whose career reached its apotheosis at the time of the 1930s Dust Bowl, understood us to live in a damaged world and charged us with…

Every modern student of wildlife and wild places has either been assigned this book, or felt obliged to pick it up from the sheer volume of references harking back to it. Written in the 1940s, A Sand County Almanac is a slim but weighty book of essays by the wildlife professor Aldo Leopold, whose prophet’s eye and poetic prose so eloquently celebrate the wild while damning our abuse of it. Or in the words of Leopold himself, who always said it best, “There are some who can live without wild things, and some who cannot. These essays are the delights…

From William's list on nature by naturalists.

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