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Trees in Paradise

A California History
Narrated by: Kevin Scollin
Length: 19 hrs and 13 mins
Categories: History, American
4.5 out of 5 stars (33 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From roots to canopy, a lush, verdant history of the making of California.

California now has more trees than at any time since the late Pleistocene. This green landscape, however, is not the work of nature. It’s the work of history. In the years after the Gold Rush, American settlers remade the California landscape, harnessing nature to their vision of the good life. Horticulturists, boosters, and civic reformers began to "improve" the bare, brown countryside, planting millions of trees to create groves, wooded suburbs, and landscaped cities. They imported the blue-green eucalypts whose tangy fragrance was thought to cure malaria. They built the lucrative "Orange Empire" on the sweet juice and thick skin of the Washington navel, an industrial fruit. They lined their streets with graceful palms to announce that they were not in the Midwest anymore. To the north the majestic coastal redwoods inspired awe and invited exploitation. A resource in the state, the durable heartwood of these timeless giants became infrastructure, transformed by the saw teeth of American enterprise. By 1900 timber firms owned the entire redwood forest; by 1950 they had clear-cut almost all of the old-growth trees.

In time California’s new landscape proved to be no paradise: The eucalypts in the Berkeley hills exploded in fire; the orange groves near Riverside froze on cold nights; Los Angeles’s palms harbored rats and dropped heavy fronds on the streets below. Disease, infestation, and development all spelled decline for these nonnative evergreens. In the north, however, a new forest of second-growth redwood took root, nurtured by protective laws and sustainable harvesting. Today there are more California redwoods than there were a century ago.

Rich in character and story, Trees in Paradise is a dazzling narrative that offers an insightful, new perspective on the history of the Golden State and the American West.

©2013 Jared Farmer (P)2013 Audible Inc.

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Really well researched and enjoyable to read

I absolutely loved this book. It should be so much more well known then it is, but I guess it's kind of a niche product. I've also read the Hidden Lives of Trees book which has gained so much press, and I have to say this one is much better in my opinion.
Incredibly well researched but easily approachable and interesting. It never comes off as too dry or academic. Will give you a great sense of the ways that trees have influenced both California and the larger society.
Hope to read more by this author in the future

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Fantastically researched

Amazing book, a California history described in tremendous detail through the trees that define the landscape. Truly a singular book!

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I loved this book!

This book was fantastic for anyone who is curious about California's history. I live in Riverside, a major player in the citrus industry discussed in this book. While I personally loved the citrus aspect, all four of the tree's history in the state were fascinating. I never knew tree's had such an impact on California's success. I hope to re-read this book again soon as it was smartly written, well organized and full of stories of how these trees impacted those who lived among them.

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Wonderful natural and socioeconomic history

Would you listen to Trees in Paradise again? Why?

The book is jam packed with amazing content and history that it is a must to listen again and again for thorough enjoyment.

Any additional comments?

The organization and foundation of the book are thoughtfully appropriate. Farmer presents a perfect balance in storytelling between the natural history of trees and it's socioeconomic one-ness with the vastness of the great state of California.

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