Nature’s Management
Writings on Landscape and Reform, 1822–1859

Edmund Ruffin
Edited by Jack Temple Kirby

Early "green literature" from a pioneer of southern land conservation

Reviews

"The value of Nature's Management rests in the fact that it is a primary source on the subject of slavery and the environment in the American South. Those seeking a better understanding of the topic should obtain a copy of the book."
H-Environment

"A comprehensive and thoughtful compilation of [Ruffin's] agricultural and environmental writing . . . Kirby's collection shows Ruffin to have been a challenging, sophisticated thinker on matters pertaining to land health."
Georgia Historical Quarterly


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Description
History remembers Edmund Ruffin, the Virginia native believed to have fired the first shot against Fort Sumter in 1861, as one of the South's most aggressive "fire-eaters." This volume of Ruffin's work offers us his less known but equally intense passion for agricultural study. In carefully edited selections from Ruffin's writings, Jack Temple Kirby presents an innovative, progressive agronomist and pioneering conservationist. Arranged in sections discussing southern agricultural history, Ruffin's observations of nature, his ideas about land reform, and his plans for soil rejuvenation, Nature’s Management shows that Ruffin was a thinker far ahead of his time, recognizing our need to improve agriculture and to protect nature.

Known as the "father of soil science" in the United States, Edmund Ruffin discovered and solved the problem of soil acidity while still in his twenties and published several papers on the subject. As the publication of his writing increased, Ruffin left his own farming business to pursue his studies. This volume contains a collection of Ruffin's essays on a variety of interrelated subjects. From the promotion of fencing and methods of malaria prevention to advocacy of a public works program and the recycling of waste, Ruffin's ideas paved the way for the early conservation movement associated with Theodore Roosevelt, Gifford Pinchot, and others. Nature's Management presents Ruffin's activism and innovative genius at its best, replacing the image of a southern firebrand with that of an outspoken reformer deserving of recognition.

Page count: 408 pp.
Trim size: 6 x 9

 



Paper
List price: $22.95
978-0-8203-2837-9
3/1/2006

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Jack Temple Kirby is emeritus W. E. Smith Professor of American History at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. His most recent books include Working the Garden: American Writers and the Industrialization of Agriculture and The Countercultural South (Georgia).