I’m nearing the end of Douglas Brinkley’s The Wilderness Warrior, and I feel compelled to share this one with you for a number of reasons. Before I get into that, however, I feel as though you should be forewarned. Coming in just short of a thousand pages, this one might take you a while. Chronicling the conservation work of Teddy Roosevelt through both the formative upbringing and the implementation itself, I’ve come away with a new appreciation for our twenty-sixth president. It’s long, but it’s worth your time.
The Wilderness Warrior seems especially important in our current environment. After the wildlife decimation of the nineteenth century, it was TR, along with men like Pinchot and Burroughs, who laid the foundation for the good old days of wildlife that many of us were born into. While so many are begging to undo the work that TR helped start, I can’t help but think that reading this book will allow all of us understand what it is we are fighting for and why it is so important that even small concessions must not be allowed.
It might be hard for non-hunters to understand the mindset of a man like TR, and I can see the seeming contradictions. The truth at the time, and still today, is that sportsmen are the greatest defenders of wildlife. We are the greatest force for conservation that exists. Roosevelt had a hand in creating over two hundred million acres of public land, and many today seem intent on undoing his accomplishments. While reading a book of this size might seem like a TR-sized task itself, I can’t recommend it enough.
Read it, and continue to fight the good fight.