Speece begins with the battle’s prehistory, describing the rise throughout the space by way of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries of a “corporatist” logging commerce that was permitted, with encouragement from the California Board of Forestry, to self-regulate lowering practices on privately owned land. Redwood preservation all through this period most continuously involved elite groups, akin to San Francisco’s Bohemian Membership, shopping for groves from timber companies. The next four chapters, which soar to the late twentieth century and the “Redwood Wars” themselves, observe native activists and their two-pronged approach—involving lawsuits and direct movement campaigns—that each one nonetheless halted old-growth logging on the North Coast and, in doing so, weakened the corporatist reign over redwoods. The licensed stalemate that resulted, Speece concludes, fostered “the Deal” orchestrated by President Bill Clinton, which not solely protected the old-growth redwoods of the North Coast’s Headwaters Forest however moreover laid the groundwork for further security of endangered landscapes nationwide.
Defending Giants is about higher than environmentalists, nonetheless, and with the intention to provide voice to the lumber executives, loggers, and attorneys who moreover operate foot troopers on this battle, Speece embraces a varied set of historic methodologies. To understand the grassroots beneath his tall bushes, he scours native newspapers, digs into unprocessed archival supplies from North Coast environmental groups, and, possibly most importantly, conducts dozens of oral interviews with activists, timber workers, lumber agency managers, and forest protection bureaucrats. Speece moreover skillfully navigates a torrent of licensed cases initiated by environmentalists to halt redwood logging, and tracks quite a lot of timber protection proposals through the hallways of capitols in every Sacramento and Washington, D.C. Lastly, he rigorously balances his narrative by analyzing the annual critiques of the Pacific Lumber Agency, which owned these redwood forests, of its successor, the Maxxam Firm, and of numerous totally different timber corporations from the Pacific Northwest. The tip outcome, which effectively blends social, political, licensed, and enterprise historic previous, will curiosity higher than environmental historians.