Reviews: Ruin and Recovery

“Dave Dempsey has done for conservation was what Bruce Catton did for the Civil War—deftly chronicle the battles and profile the heroes. . . . [The book’s] emphasis, and enormous value for future generations, is its sweeping account of the 19th century and subsequent plundering of Michigan’s natural resources, and of how public-spirited citizens prodded for recovery.”

George Weeks

Escanaba Press; Ironwood Globe, May 23, 2001; May 22,2001

In his brilliant new book, Ruin and Recovery: Michigan’s Rise as a Conservation Leader . . . We get a dose of optimism, encouragement and inspiration. . . . Rather than presenting an arid chronology of Michigan’s history, Dempsey brings the past to vivid life with his storytelling magic. . . . Like in a fast paced novel. . . Dempsey brings the project a rare spirit who heeds the call to enlighten and enrich ours.”

Sherry Hayden

The Mackinac Quarterly, August-October 2001

“Dempsey provides not only a lamp, but a detailed road map to anyone who cares or may yet come to care about what happens to Michigan’s natural beauty and natural resources. A compelling writer and storyteller, Dempsey deftly weaves his phenomenal research of newspapers, government documents, diaries and reports of early settlers and surveyers and government documents into a fascinating account of the many forces over the last 150 years that led to the environmental devastation of Michigan. . . . [S]hould be a must-read for state and local policy makers, journalists, business and environmental leaders, high school and college history students.”

Loraine Anderson

Record-Eagle (Traverse City)

“Anyone who claims to care about this state’s natural resources and environmental health should read this book. Not only does it provide a superb grounding about the wretched excesses of the past, it offers guidance about what we should be doing now to insure that we leave something for the future.”

Eric Sharp

Detroit Free Press, August 27, 2001

“No matter what state one lives in, studying Michigan’s conservation can serve as a case study on many aspects of conservation. The story presented here also provides information on a national perspective, such as the detailed account of the reckless hunting of passenger pigeons to extinction. Throughout, the vivid detail not only helps paint a startling description of the ruin, but it also helps readers appreciate how the recovery efforts staggered on with some successes and many failures. . . . Ruin and Recovery . . . is vital to anyone researching environmental protection and conservation biology history.”

P. Rillero

Arizona State University West, Choice, September 2002

“[A] meticulously researched book about Michigan’s roller-coaster conservation history. . . . Stretching from 1837, when Michigan achieved statehood, to the present, Dempsey’s book explores many of the headline-raising environmental issues with which Michigan struggled, as well as the famous, and infamous, individuals who dedicated their lives and careers to conservation. . . . Dempsey’s narrative is highly readable, and Michiganians will appreciate knowing in greater detail ‘what really happened.’ . . . Ruin and Recovery is an important contribution to the state’s history and leaves the reader wanting to know even more about Michigan’s mercurial past.”

Sara Dant Ewert

Weber State University, Michigan Historical Review