Stephen Brain, Song of the Forest

Just click here already to read the full review, in which I reveal the depth and intensity of my nerdishness in the course of praising Stephen Brain's seriously valuable Song of the Forest: Russian Forestry and Stalinist Environmentalism, 1905-1953.

The third paragraph reads as follows:
In Song of the Forest, Brain gives readers a fascinatingly nuanced reading of the relative environmentalism of distinct approaches to forest management in Russia and the USSR in the first half of the twentieth century, and that’s what academic audiences should come for. Other readers, though, should stay for Brain’s interpretive frame that allows for the reinterpretation of popular attitudes toward both the environment broadly and resource consumption more narrowly. What makes Brain’s a powerfully theoretical model as well as an impressive work of environmental history is that he sketches out the trajectory of what he calls “Stalinist environmentalism” so effectively that we are left, to some extent, with a model for corporate capitalist environmentalism, without our having to adopt or support either Stalinism or corporate capitalism. Capitalist corporate forestry maybe isn’t so far from Soviet power structures, after all, and Brain’s study should intrigue anyone interested in how environmental actions are influenced by the relationships between power, science, and popular appeal.
In other words, yeah, pretty good book.


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