The Golden Spruce, A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed by John Vaillant; 2005; $16.95; 255 pages; W.W. Norton, New York, NY; 978-0393-32864-6; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Woodstock; 8/10/18-8/22/18
Why did I read this? It was recommended by a friend of my sister in law, Dana Paperman, Angela Brown.
Grant Hadwin had worked for years in the logging industry in British Columbia. He had a knack for knowing just where to put the roads that would allow the logging companies to maximize their ability to clear cut forests.
Growing on an isolated island was a Sitka Spruce that was unlike any other of the trees around it. For some reason this spruce was golden, when all the trees around it were green. This tree was storied and sacred to the indigenous people who inhabited the island. The logging companies had set aside some forest land around the tree so that it would never be logged.
Grant Hadwin began to see the damage his roads were allowing to the forests and became an environmentalist. He also suffered from paranoia and other mental illnesses. After putting together supplies and under cover of night he cut the Golden Spruce so that it would topple in the wind. He said he did these to draw attention to the clear cutting of so many forests. He was supposedly unaware of the spiritual connection the tribe had to the tree. He was due to appear in court to face charges in connection with the cutting of the tree, but he disappeared and hasn’t been seen since 1997.
10/10, John Vaillant does a great job of melding history, politics, logging and more. Probably one of the best books I have read this year.
What is with the title of the review? There is so much here that has to be factual because you could make it up and make it make sense.