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The Ghost Forest

Racists, Radicals, and Real Estate in the California Redwoods

Regular Price $38.99 CAD

Regular Price $38.99 CAD

This item is a preorder. Your payment method will be charged immediately, and the product is expected to ship on or around June 6, 2023. This date is subject to change due to shipping delays beyond our control.

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Description

The definitive story of the California redwoods, their discovery and their exploitation, as told by an activist who fought to protect their existence against those determined to cut them down.

Every year millions of tourists from around the world visit California’s famous redwoods. Yet few who strain their necks to glimpse the tops of the world’s tallest trees understand how unlikely it is that these last isolated groves of giant trees still stand at all. In this gripping historical memoir, journalist and famed redwood activist Greg King examines how investors and a growing U.S. economy drove the timber industry to cut down all but 4 percent of the original two-million-acre redwood ecosystem. King first examined redwood logging in the 1980s—as an award-winning reporter. What he found in the woods convinced him to leap the line of neutrality and become an activist dedicated to saving the very last ancient redwood groves remaining in private hands. 

The land grab began in 1849, when a “green gold rush” of migrants came to exploit the legendary redwoods that grew along the Russian River. Several generations later, in 1987, Greg King discovered and named Headwaters Forest—at 3,000 acres the largest ancient redwood habitat remaining outside of parks—and he led the movement to save this grove. After a decade of one of the longest, most dramatic, and violent environmental campaigns in US history, in 1999 the state and federal governments protected Headwaters Forest. 

The Ghost Forest explores a central question, an overhanging mystery: What was it like, this botanical Elysium that grew only along the Northern California coast, a forest so spectacular—but also uniquely valuable as a cornerstone of American economic growth—that in the end it would inspire life-and-death struggles? Few but loggers and surveyors ever saw such magnificent trees, ancient sentinels that, like ghosts, have informed King’s understanding of the world. On a lifelong journey, King finds himself through the generations, and through the trees. 

What's Inside

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Praise

"Greg King's Ghost Forest is a haunting requiem for one of Earth's magnificent forests.  Human survival has rested on our ability to recognize opportunity by exploiting the planet's abundance.  Once armed with fossil fuels and machines, we have felled entire ecosystems to serve our limitless demands.  King's feelings of awe, humility and love before giant redwoods, is what is needed to slake our drawdown of the rest of nature."—David Suzuki
 “Greg King is an American hero. And he has written a heroic book—a book befitting the California redwoods, which are the tallest, the oldest, and arguably the most magnificent creatures on the planet. The Ghost Forest is a stunning work: beautifully written, exquisitely researched, compelling, funny, angry, poetic, cynical, idealistic, and always fascinating. King’s important reinterpretation of the history of the Save-the-Redwoods League reads like a detective novel. We are all in King's debt for having the courage to tell his story, and to tell it so beautifully.”—Jonathan Spiro, Author of Defending the Master Race
"In this combination of memoir and investigative report, Greg King, veteran of the Northern California timber wars, evokes the spirit of the long-gone fog shrouded giants that fell to axe and saw.  He paints a picture both inspiring and disturbing of the heroic forest defenders, the intractable timber beasts, and the nefarious opportunists that played the two sides against each other for their own profit.  He takes us on one final journey across the sacred ground where the great booming forests once stood, and are now lost forever."—Will Russell, Professor, Environmental Studies, San Jose State University
"This book is the story of one man’s fight to save the planet’s tallest trees. As a young man, Greg King risked everything to stop logging companies from hacking down the last big California redwoods.  The Ghost Forest brilliantly recounts his odyssey to make sense of the millennial mystery and modern history of the great forest.   It’s an unforgettable story, and one more necessary than ever with the future of the earth itself under threat."—Orin Starn, Professor of History, Duke University
"The Ghost Forest is a tale both infuriating and inspiring. It covers the destruction of California’s redwood forests, told from a perspective that could not be more up close and personal. From it’s gripping opening scene of activist vs logger, to its unfolding story of the magnificent trees themselves, the book rushes with the energy of a river in spring. All of us who care about the future of human existence on the planet, and who want to understand the ways in which that future can be compromised, need to read this story."—Bruce Cockburn, International music star and activist
"Writing about redwoods is hard because of the ancient forest’s unimaginable grandeur, in space and time, and because of the sickening violence and waste of its almost complete destruction in less than two centuries. Greg King has written about it exceptionally well, and with good cause. Having grown up in the “Redwood Empire,” he has spent much of his life exploring the forest, on the ground and in libraries. He knows the tangled politics of forest destruction and protection in great detail from personal participation and observation. He has risked his life more than once to find and help save significant “last stands” like the Headwaters Forest. And he writes about it all with poetic fervor, scientific precision, political wisdom, and a droll, self-deprecating sense of humor that brings the adventuresome days of Earth First! and tree-sits to life with a clarity that is in wonderfully refreshing contrast to the muddle of mass media coverage."
 —David Rains Wallace, Author, The Klamath Knot
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