The German Forest: Nature, Identity, and the Contestation of a National Symbol, 1871-1914

By Jeffrey K. Wilson

© 2012

From the late eighteenth century, Germans increasingly identified the fate of their nation with that of their woodlands. A variety of groups soon mobilized the 'German forest' as a national symbol, though often in ways that suited their own social, economic, and political interests. The German Forest is the first book-length history of the development and contestation of the concept of 'German' woodlands.

Jeffrey K. Wilson challenges the dominant interpretation that German connections to nature were based in agrarian romanticism rather than efforts at modernization. He explores a variety of conflicts over the symbol — from demands on landowners for public access to woodlands, to state attempts to integrate ethnic Slavs into German culture through forestry, and radical nationalist visions of woodlands as a model for the German 'race'. Through impressive primary and archival research, Wilson demonstrates that in addition to uniting Germans, the forest as a national symbol could also serve as a vehicle for protest and strife.

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Product Details

  • Series: German and European Studies
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 344 pages
  • Illustrations: 16
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.2in x 8.9in
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SKU# SP002798

  • PUBLISHED JUL 2016

    From: $26.96

    Regular Price: $35.95

    ISBN 9781487521677
  • PUBLISHED JUN 2012

    From: $63.00

    Regular Price: $84.00

    ISBN 9781442640993
  • PUBLISHED JUN 2012

    From: $63.00

    Regular Price: $84.00

Quick Overview

Through impressive primary and archival research, Wilson demonstrates that in addition to uniting Germans, the forest as a national symbol could also serve as a vehicle for protest and strife.

The German Forest: Nature, Identity, and the Contestation of a National Symbol, 1871-1914

By Jeffrey K. Wilson

© 2012

From the late eighteenth century, Germans increasingly identified the fate of their nation with that of their woodlands. A variety of groups soon mobilized the 'German forest' as a national symbol, though often in ways that suited their own social, economic, and political interests. The German Forest is the first book-length history of the development and contestation of the concept of 'German' woodlands.

Jeffrey K. Wilson challenges the dominant interpretation that German connections to nature were based in agrarian romanticism rather than efforts at modernization. He explores a variety of conflicts over the symbol — from demands on landowners for public access to woodlands, to state attempts to integrate ethnic Slavs into German culture through forestry, and radical nationalist visions of woodlands as a model for the German 'race'. Through impressive primary and archival research, Wilson demonstrates that in addition to uniting Germans, the forest as a national symbol could also serve as a vehicle for protest and strife.

Continue Reading Read Less

Product Details

  • Series: German and European Studies
  • World Rights
  • Page Count: 344 pages
  • Illustrations: 16
  • Dimensions: 6.3in x 1.2in x 8.9in
  • Reviews

    ‘This well contextualized study provides an interesting example of environmental history, offering insights into the land and human relationships with it as well as revealing hoe much environment-related issues can tell us about humans as political animals.’


    Brian Vick
    American Historical Review, vol 118:03:2013

    ‘The book fills a real gap, not only in its chronological and spatial focus but also in drawing connections between the politics of the forest and the Heimat movement. Wilson offers a significant and persuasively narrated contribution to the history of Imperial Germany, of the forest, and of nationalism.’
    Richard Hölzl
    German History vol 32:02:2014

    ‘Wilson’s book would be important reading for any student of environmental history or the history of Western Europe in the modern age.’


    Charles Closmann
    Environment and History vol 21:04:2015
  • Author Information

    Jeffrey K. Wilson is an assistant professor in the Department of History at California State University, Sacramento.

  • Table of contents

    Acknowledgements

    Introduction

    Chapter I: National Landscape and National Memory

    Chapter II: Contested Forests: Ideal Values and Real Estate

    Chapter III: Environmental Activism: Berlin and the Grunewald

    Chapter IV: Reforestation as Reform: Pomerelia and the Tuchel Heath

    Chapter V: Meaningful Woods: Sylvan Metaphors and Arboreal Symbols

    Conclusion

    Bibliography

    index

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