question of relative values, “differentntastes in recreation.” But trail-bikers andnbird-watchers can not peacefully coexist.nAsking a woodsman to tolerate off-roadnvehicles is like asking the audience at anMozart concert to endure an assembly ofnWalkman radios playing soul music. Wenhave a country full of noise, of people,nand of the things made by people. It doesnnot seem like too much to ask that parksnand wilderness areas be free of the everyday.nEven back in the 1940’s, AldonLeopold was complaining that woodcraftnhad become the “an of using gadgets.”nWilderness, so Leopold thought, wasnprized for “the feeling of isolation innnature” which it gives. If Leopoldnthought the desire for isolation wasnuniversal, he was mistaken. Many people,nupon finding themselves alone innthe woods, share the horror of Philoctetes,nwho felt himself a “friendless, citilessncorpse among the living,” or of poor BennGunn, who hadn’t “spoke with a Christiannthese three years.” Indeed, thenChinese are said to regard the tale ofnRobinson Crusoe with particular horror,na horror common to most preindustrialnpeoples.nTucker does not attempt to understandnthis obsession of modern man tonget away from it all. To the extent that henpenetrates the environmentalist mindset,nit is with the help of Irving Babbitt’snRousseau and Romanticism, but Tuckeinfails to distinguish between the all-toofalsenmasks of primitivism assumed bynromantics and environmentalists alikenand what Babbitt called “one of man’sn36inChronicles of Cttlturendeepest needs.. .for genuine communicationn, for a genuine escape, that is, fromnhis ordinary self.”n1 he American godfather of romanticnenvironmentalism was Henry DavidnThoreau, who gave the movement itsnmost compelling slogan, “In wildernessnis the preservation of the world.” Tuckernis very careful not to attack Thoreau,nalthough he does confess that he is sick ofnhearing him quoted. Thoreau actuallyndoes illustrate many of the paradoxes ofnenvironmentalism: the political idealistnwho gave his support to terrorists 0ohnnBrown); a man who got away from it allnat Walden Pond but managed to gonhome for dinner on a regular basis; thenarchetypal American who fell in lovenwith Oriental “philosophy.” Like thenother New England literati—and thenmodern environmentalists—Thoreaunwas more than a little cracked: his love ofnnature was also coupled with contemptnfor man. Unlike the other Transcendentalists,nThoreau’s hatred of himianity didnnot take the form of Utopian politics.nBecause he chose to write about thenthings he actually knew something aboutn—the woods, the rivers, and the mountains—Thoreau’snbooks are still readnoutside the classroom. In Thoreau andnthe Mountains, William Howarth, theneditor of the definitive text of Thoreau,ngives the casual reader a glimpse into thenmakings of Thoreau, whose writings onnmountains span all the periods of hisncreative activity. The book’s main purposenis to provide sentimental hikers withnnna tour guide of Thoreau’s mountain excursions.nHowarth cannot be complimentedntoo highly for his scrupulousncommentary, which all too often containsnreferences to the depredationsncaused by the tourist industry.nA sort of theme emerges in thesenwritings: Thoreau’s progress from anromantic enthusiast to a real naturalist.nThe early accounts are full of carefullyndressed poetic references, stock eloquence,nand puerile philsophizing.nEventually, Thoreau’s obsession withnmere nature was so strong that in his laternwritings the reader is overwhelmed byncareful, though not always entertaining,nobservations on geology, flora, andnfauna. The most amusing parts ofnHowarth’s collection pit the idealistnThoreau against real people whom henrarely understands. In 1844, on hisnascent of Greylock in Massachusetts,nThoreau spent the night in the home ofnone Mr. Rice, a rough-hewn farmer. Thenpoor philosopher opened—by way ofncompliment—with an observation onnthe wildness of the scenery. The offendednfarmer took so much umbrage atnthe backhanded flattery that by the endnof the evening he was claiming that hisnfarm (under the shadow of the mountain)nhad an hour more daylight thannelsewhere.nIt would take a greater social criticnthan Tucker to tell us why artists andnaristocrats alike have been driven furthernand further away from ordinary life.nThere really is nothing quite like thenromantic yearning for Nature in earlierncivilizations—there is not even a word fornit in Greek or Latin. Tucker’s ad hominemnargviment against environmentalists—^wittynand accurate, though it is—ndoes not begin to refute their basic concern:nthat man’s power over nature hasnreached the point where it has become anmenace, not just to other species, but tonman himself, body andwA.nTucker’s myopia is politically induced.nEven though he has, on occasion,nwritten for National Review, he makes itnplain that he is not in any sense conser-n