- Written by University of Nevada Press University of Nevada Press
- Published: 25 April 2018 25 April 2018
Reno, Nevada - One of America’s most significant architects of conservation and the environment, Stewart Udall, comes to life in this environmental biography. Perhaps no other public official or secretary of the interior has ever had as much success in environmental protection, natural resource conservation, and outdoor recreation opportunity creation as Udall. A progressive Mormon, born and raised in rural Arizona, Udall served as the U.S. Secretary of the Interior under the presidential cabinets of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Baines Johnson from 1961-1969.
During these eight years, he established dozens of new national park units and national wildlife refuges, wrote the Endangered Species Preservation Act, lobbied for unpolluted water, and offered ways to beautify urban spaces and bring the impoverished out of poverty. Later in life, he continued as an advocate for conservation and the environment, specifically by proposing solutions to the challenges associated with global warming and the widespread use of oil.
What can we learn from this farsighted individual?
In a day and age of partisan politics, poor congressional approval ratings, and global warming and climate change, this captivating biography offers a profound and historical record into Udall’s life-long devotion to environmental issues he cared about most deeply—issues more relevant today than they were then. Intimate moments include Udall’s learning of the Kennedy assassination, his push for civil rights for African Americans, his meeting in the U.S.S.R. with Nikita Khrushchev—the first Kennedy cabinet member to do so—and his warnings about global warming 50 years prior to Al Gore’s Nobel Prize-winning film.
“This carefully researched, absorbing biography documents the remarkable environmental legacy of Stewart Udall. . . . Einberger offers extensive notes validating the material in each chapter. He also draws several perceptive conclusions about Udall’s lifework, not the least of which is that he served ‘as a model for “working together” and bipartisanship.’ This is a relevant biographical study of a significant American environmentalist.” ~ Foreword Reviews
“Udall is a huge figure in the history of postwar environmentalism in America, and it is quite shocking how few book-length treatments have been devoted to his enduring influence and legacy, which continue to reverberate in today’s politics and policy. With Distance in His Eyes is certainly a significant and much needed addition to the study of one of the most important advocates for the environment in the twentieth century.” ~ Brian Drake, University of Georgia
“A thorough, delightful book about a truly inspirational public servant. Scott Einberger’s biography couldn’t be more timely, arriving just at the time that we need something to help dispel today’s dispiriting cynicism about the role and possibilities of government.” ~ Peter Harnik, co-founder of the Rails-to-Trails Conservancy and founder of the Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence.
"With Distance in His Eyes" Author Scott Einberger is an environmental historian and public lands enthusiast. He lives in Washington, DC.