Title: Founding Gardeners: The Revolutionary Generations, Nature, and the Shaping of the American Nation
Author: Andrea Wulf
Strong points: Founding Gardeners is meticulously researched. It is as much or more an historic documentation as it is a horticultural recounting. Agriculture was inexorably intertwined with our country’s early growth and strength. Andrea does a masterful job of weaving these threads together.
Thomas Jefferson and George Washington come quickly to mind as early agriculturists. Founding Gardeners reminds us also not to forget other, sometimes less remembered, environmentalists/statesmen/horticulturists — James Madison and John Adams.
Andrea Wulf puts the key message “agriculture holds a “pivotal place within the delicate balance between man and nature”” at the forefront of this important book. She also highlights how the country’s economic strength is in direct correlation to its agricultural and environmental health. This was something our founding fathers wisely recognized and something we ignore today at our peril.
Weaknesses: This book is not an easy leisurely read because is so extensively detailed. I personally had difficulty keeping up the amount of concentration and focus to read it in more than short stints. Avid historians would likely not see this as a weakness, but rather a strength.
My husband, also a horticulturist, suggested that first reading Brother Gardeners might make it easier to keep straight the other botanists and horticulturists whose thoughts and activities are interwoven with the statesmen that Founding Gardeners highlights.
Green thumbs rating:
# of pages: 349 pgs.
Photos: Yes, small selection of both color and black and white
Illustrations: Yes, *illustrations included as part to the Appendix
Appendix: Yes; extensive notes documenting sources of researched information. Selected bibliography.
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Publication Date: 2011
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