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Historians have long viewed the massive reshaping of the American landscape during the New Deal era as unprecedented. This book uncovers the early twentieth-century history rich with precedents for the New Deal in forest, park, and agricultural policy. Sara M. Gregg explores the redevelopment of the Appalachian Mountains from the 1910s through the 1930s, finding in this region a changing paradigm of land use planning that laid the groundwork for the national New Deal. Through an intensive analysis of federal planning in Virginia and Vermont, Gregg contextualizes the expansion of the federal government through land use planning and highlights the deep intellectual roots of federal conservation policy.
“Sara Gregg has written a pathbreaking book in the rapidly growing field of environmental history. Focusing on the Appalachian forests and mountains in Virginia and Vermont, she illustrates how much transformative attention, both public and private, was focused on the health of the landscape and the people who lived in it.”—Alan Brinkley, author of The Publisher: Henry Luce and His American Century and of Voices of Protest: Huey Long, Father Coughlin, and the Great Depression
“Gregg explores an under-examined region through serious and extensive scholarship. She is a solid writer who conveys her ideas and stories in extremely readable prose, without the use of jargon. Her writing flows well and is wonderfully easy to follow."—Neil Maher, author of Nature's New Deal: The Civilian Conservation Corps and the Roots of the American Environmental Movement
— Neil Maher
"The public wild lands of Appalachia contain curious human traces - stone walls, old foundations, cemeteries - that rest beneath an obscuring mantle of trees. In Managing the Mountains, her deft comparative analysis of the coming of federal conservation to Virginia and Vermont, Sara Gregg recovers for us the compelling stories behind these modest ruins - stories of local people, state politicians, and federal planners who managed and endured the transition from private farms to public forests. This is environmental history at its best."—Paul Sutter, author of Driven Wild