Adventures of the Craighead Naturalists
In this genealogy of the Craighead family, the author explores the history and exploits of this famously nature-oriented clan.
The tale of the Craigheads begins with the dawn of the American colonies, but the book itself begins with the engaging tale of two Craighead brothers capturing and training hawks in Depression-era Pennsylvania. This story-oriented style typifies Glorious Times, which recounts the lives of the historical Craigheads in lively detail, bringing readers into close, personal proximity to the subjects’ lives. Roughly chronologically, the book describes each significant Craighead chapter by chapter, always highlighting their nature-loving and environmental points. Since the family’s story begins so early in American history, the book spends several chapters working through older relatives, who predated what modern activists would recognize as environmentalism, before getting to the generations that produced the more famous conservationists and natural scientists. However, the theme of the Craigheads as nature-lovers, hikers, campers, and outdoorspeople remains a powerful thread throughout the book. The author’s research on the topic could not be more meticulous, incorporating typical genealogical sources, such as newspapers, as well as personal interviews with Jean Craighead George and family documents, such as diaries.
Particularly valuable to book people may be the insight that Glorious Times provides into the mind and personality of Jean Craighead George, who is presented as at once more liberal and ambitious than other Craighead women and fully in step with her family’s environmentalist tradition. Fans and critics of her work and of the roots of the twentieth century environmental stewardship movement will find this work a fascinating insight. Genealogists may also be interested in the book as an example of a family history well executed.
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