The Age of Smoke (Paperback)
Environmental Policy in Germany and the United States, 1880-1970 (Pittsburgh Hist Urban Environ)
University of Pittsburgh Press, 9780822960126, 336pp.
Publication Date: February 15, 2009
Other Editions of This Title:
These conditions prompted civic activism in the form of “anti-smoke” campaigns to attack the unsightly physical manifestations of coal burning. This early period witnessed significant cooperation between industrialists, government, and citizens to combat the smoke problem. It was not until the 1960s, when attention shifted from dust and grime to hazardous invisible gases, that cooperation dissipated, and protests took an antagonistic turn.
The Age of Smoke presents an original, comparative history of environmental policy and protest in the United States and Germany. Dividing this history into distinct eras (1880 to World War I, interwar, post-World War II to 1970), Frank Uekoetter compares and contrasts the influence of political, class, and social structures, scientific communities, engineers, industrial lobbies, and environmental groups in each nation. He concludes with a discussion of the environmental revolution, arguing that there were indeed two environmental revolutions in both countries: one societal, where changing values gave urgency to air pollution control, the other institutional, where changes in policies tried to catch up with shifting sentiments.
Focusing on a critical period in environmental history, The Age of Smoke provides a valuable study of policy development in two modern industrial nations, and the rise of civic activism to combat air pollution. As Uekoetter's work reveals, the cooperative approaches developed in an earlier era offer valuable lessons and perhaps the best hope for future progress.
About the Author
Praise For The Age of Smoke: Environmental Policy in Germany and the United States, 1880-1970 (Pittsburgh Hist Urban Environ)…
“Elegantly written. The myth Uekoetter most effectively debunks is the belief that successful pollutant control only began with the modern environmental movement. He is one of several contemporary environmental historians looking seriously at Progressive-Era efforts at conservation, preservation, and protoenvironmentalism to make the link between earlier efforts and present day ones.”
—German Studies Review
“Readily reveals the remarkable amount of research Uekoetter undertook on two continents in preparing this book. Simply in undertaking this large and difficult task, Uekoetter’s work is an accomplishment.”
—Technology and Culture
“Perhaps most notable is Uekoetter’s eloquent historical critique of the instinctive tendency among some environmentalists to view industry as an implacable foe rather than potential collaborator in the reduction of air pollution. Industrialists and engineers often acted as valued partners in smoke-abatement efforts; the account he presents is therefore not one that pits ecological concerns firmly against economic interests. If there is a lesson to be learned from the ‘age of smoke,’ it is, according to Uekoetter, the importance of compromise and cooperation achieving real environmental improvements.”
—Central European History
“An ambitious work . . . uniquely expansive. The expanse [leads] directly to his interesting conclusions. After decades of writing municipal and regional histories, it is time for environmental historians to broaden their scope, and to think about the age of environmentalism in the way that Uekoetter approaches ‘The Age of Smoke.’”
—Business History Review
“Ambitious, clearly written, and thoroughly documented . . . a worthy addition to any environmental historian’s bookshelf.”