and coherence to ecological ideas,”nBramwell traces the rise of Europeannecologism in the work of such notablesnas Ernst Haeckel and other proponentsnof German Naturphilosophie — anmovement, the great English biologistnSir Peter Medawar has noted, thatnpromulgated “a form of scientificnbelles lettres with a truly dismal tracknrecord for making sense of the puzzlesnin which biology abounds.” Medawarnmight have been thinking of thenGerman scientist who mused, in thenI930’s, over England’s status as anworld power. It must be due, the goodnecologist noted, to the island’s cats,nwhich killed mice and rodents that innturn fed on bumblebee larvae; sincenbees are the most efficient pollinatorsnof red clover, on which British cattlenfeed and thus provide sustenance fornthe soldiers and sailors of the Empire,nwell, then, of course England rests onnthe performance of its felines. Q.E.D.nAnna Bramwell’s rendering of thenintellectual history of this romanticnschool is evenhanded enough, if unoriginal;nonly when she gets on to laternavatars of Haeckel does Bramwell beginnto miss the point entirely, as whennshe says of Sir James Lovelock’s “Gaianhypothesis” — a controversial, elegant,nand now extremely popular thesis thatnEarth is a single self-regulating organism—nthat it supposes that naturenthrives in a “serene ecological balance.”nPacifists everywhere may heartennat such assurances, but in point ofnfact the history of the planet suggestsnthat catastrophe of various sorts seemsnmore useful to a healthy ecosystemnthan does stasis. Bramwell compoundsnthis error by saying wistfully that “ecologistsnbelieve in the essential harmonynof nature.” Balance, yes,, but the notionnof harmony imposes on nature ansort of homey goodwill, by which thenlion lies down with the lamb, that fewnscientific ecologists would recognize.nHer discussion of the political consequencesnof Naturphilosophie, whennEuropean environmentalism left thenlaboratories and entered the streets, is,nhowever, quite good. Ask a modernnGreen for his or her description ofnparadise, and chances are that thenimage evoked will be one of the quietnthatch-roofed farmhouse in a sylvannglen, a cud of smoke arising from thenchimney and lambs bleating in a cloverynmeadow full of swarming bees.nfairhaired children dancing bucknakednaround a maypole, and strong, handsomenelders discussing Marcuse overntheir meerschaum pipes. There will benlittle or no evidence of unmanagednnature in such a vision, and for goodnreason; only in the wilds of highlandnScotland and the shadowy Balkans,namong a few other places, has Europenleft much of the land alone, untroublednby human intervention.nIt’s a happy enough picture, a worldnin which J.R.R. Tolkien’s hobbits andnHans Christian Andersen’s fairiesnwould feel at home. It is also just thenpicture that Nazism, Italian Fascism,nand the Little Englandism of suchnlights as Edmund Blunden and D.H.nLawrence offered: a world free of factoriesnand capitalism, landlords and —nwell, non-Europeans. (In 1942, Blundennremarked that he wished HermannnGoering named Lord Protectornof England, “because he would restorenblacksmiths to every village.”) AnnanBramwell points out these connections,nremarking on the origins ofnWestern European totalitarianism innfringe country-life movements thatnglorified peasant virtues and reviled thennastiness and squalor of the metropolis.nShe also rightly notes that Nazi technocratsnlike Heydrich and Speer eventuallynconvinced Adolf Hitler that thenback-to-the-land ideals of the Europeannecologists threatened the interests ofnthe New Order: the nostalgic searchnfor harmonious environmental valuesnwere “part of the pre-Third Reichnyearning for a pan-Aryan, non-nationalnidentity of a ‘soft’ kind.”nThe parallels with certain strains ofnmodern Green thought are franklyneerie. So, too, are the recent manifestationsnof Wandervogel environmentalismnin the Great Russian Pamy’atnmovement, which lately has been givingnso much trouble to Mikhail Gorbachevnin his attempts to cede at leastnsome state power to the non-Russiannrepublics of the Soviet Union. (One ofnthe leading Pdmy’cif spokesmen is ValentinnRasputin, the author of Siberianon Fire and organizer of efforts tonprotect Lake Baikal from further industrialnpollution.) Anna Bramwellndoes not make enough of those parallels,nand she is content to remarknmerely that the technologically sophisticated,nplanned economies do thenmost harm to nature today. This seemsnnna truism, and not a terribly interestingnone at that; but one look at the Nile ornthe Brahmaputra, at the open sewers ofnRio de Janeiro and Khartoum, wouldnsuggest that Bramwell’s argumentnneeds deepening. Given the richnessnof her topic, it is unfortunate indeednthat she could not have done better, ifnonly by giving her book a more accuratenand modest title — Ecology in SaxonnEurope, say.nBramwell almost entirely disregardsnNorth American ecological thought,nwhich makes her sweeping pronouncementsnon the nature of environmentalismnall the more annoying. As a briefnon European ideas of nature and humankind’snplace in it. Ecology in thenTwentieth Century has many virtuesnand many vices, but readers in thenNew Worid will recognize little of theirninterests in her pages.nThomas Lyon’s splendid anthology.nThis Incomperable Lande, offersna powerful synthesis of American ideasnon nature, ideas that now as two centuriesnago are indebted to Europeannscience and literature. Our intellectualnancestry is indebted to men and womennfacing unknown wilderness and thenvast space the new continent afforded;nit is for good reason that one of ourngreat national heroes is the solitary andnfar-ranging Johnny Appleseed, not thencivic-minded homebody (but anti-bunny)nFarmer Brown. Gonfronting thenincomprehensibly huge space ofnAmerica, our early naturalists abandonednnotions of managed nature andnthe country life, and if most of themnmade their home in the crowded seaportsnof Boston and New York, theyntook to the woods for their solace.nLyon, a professor of English at UtahnState University and for many yearsneditor of the scholarly journal WesternnAmerican Literature, opens his collectionnwith a magisterial series of his ownnessays on the history of Americannnaturalism. These essays are alonenworth the price of the book, as isnLyon’s detailed chronology of eventsnin the natural history of the continent;ncollectively they mark some of thenmost sensible literary history to havenbeen published in years. The anthologynproper begins with an excerpt fromnWilliam Wood’s New England Prospectn(1634), a suitably awed account ofn”the kingly lion and the strong-armednAUGUST 1990/33n