The Golden Spruce

A True Story of Myth, Madness, and Greed
Vaillant, John (Book - 2005)
Average Rating: 4 stars out of 5.
The Golden Spruce
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WW Norton
A tale of obsession so fierce that a man kills the thing he loves most: the only giant golden spruce on earth.
As vividly as Jon Krakauer put readers on Everest, John Vaillant takes us into the heart of North America's last great forest, where trees grow to eighteen feet in diameter, sunlight never touches the ground, and the chainsaws are always at work.When a shattered kayak and camping gear are found on an uninhabited island, they reignite a mystery surrounding a shocking act of protest. Five months earlier, logger-turned-activist Grant Hadwin had plunged naked into a river in British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Islands, towing a chainsaw. When his night's work was done, a unique Sitka spruce, 165 feet tall and covered with luminous golden needles, teetered on its stump. Two days later it fell.The tree, a fascinating puzzle to scientists, was sacred to the Haida, a fierce seafaring tribe based in the Queen Charlottes. Vaillant recounts the bloody history of the Haida and the early fur trade, and provides harrowing details of the logging industry, whose omnivorous violence would claim both Hadwin and the golden spruce.

Baker & Taylor
Traces the political, religious, and scientific factors that contributed to the seemingly inexplicable decision of logger-turned-activist Grant Hadwin to destroy the world's only giant golden spruce tree, describing the tree's role as a scientific puzzle, an object of reverence to the seafaring Haida tribe, and the violent contributions of the logging industry. First serial, The New Yorker. 70,000 first printing.

& Taylor

Traces the political, religious, and scientific factors that contributed to the seemingly inexplicable decision of logger-turned-activist Grant Hadwin to destroy the world's only giant golden spruce tree.

Authors: Vaillant, John
Statement of Responsibility: John Vaillant
Title: The golden spruce
a true story of myth, madness, and greed
Publisher: New York : Norton, c2005
Characteristics: xiii, 255 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 24 cm.
Sold by: Norton
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references
Subject Headings: Hadwin, Grant Sitka spruce British Columbia Queen Charlotte Islands Logging British Columbia Queen Charlotte Islands Haida Indians British Columbia Queen Charlotte Islands
Topical Term: Sitka spruce
Haida Indians
LCCN: 2005001530
ISBN: 0393058875
Branch Call Number: 333.7513 V
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Jul 04, 2013
  • Bjreader rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

The Golden Spruce is truly a story of myth, madness and greed.
It gave so much information and at times I felt that it was a manifesto about the destruction of our forests and not pointing out what we are doing to our world and the people doing the destruction not getting it.

Vaillant knows how to make logging, trees and coastal history interesting.

Sep 11, 2012
  • wimsey4u rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

My son and I read this aloud to each other while visiting Haida Gwaii. It gave a depth to our own experience, kept us thinking both sides of the issues faced by our resource extraction society. Highly recommended by us as a well written, thoughtful treatment of a devastating event and the history that led to it

Jul 24, 2012
  • StuDick rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

Amazing true story, thoughtfully set in a context of resource exploitation and personal responsibility. I still can't decide if what he did was morally right or wrong.

Jun 26, 2012
  • spacecat rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

The politics of logging in B.C. has a long history. This man was skilled, knowledgeable, and like a lot of woods people, a bit crazy on a good day. The book explains the possible motive behind an unbelievable act of environmental protest that went wrong, hurting the Haida people more than the logging policies it was meant to protest. A lot of detailed information on logging, trees, tough guys, and Haida Gwaii all in one book.

Jun 22, 2012
  • Kate13Liz rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

Good telling - true Canadian Mystery.
Nice details about life in some of the tribes of the West Coast and of the West Coast loggers.

Should be required reading for all British Columbians. Offers a concise, well researched, thumbnail history of this geographical region, it's people, and resources. Also uncovers the facts and motivations behind the events when the Golden Spruce was cut down.

May 01, 2012
  • uncommonreader rated this: 3 stars out of 5.

An unusual book but worth a read. It tells the story of a tree on Haida Gwai, cut down in 1997 as a protest, although about what is unclear, by a man who subsequently disappeared. It is a little too pro-logging and is padded with too much biology.

Dec 01, 2011
  • MsLit rated this: 2.5 stars out of 5.

I am not a big NF fan, but I was actually able to finish this one with some skimming. The thread of the main story kept my intrigued enough to stick with it. I am glad I finished this book as I had no knowledge of the golden spruce and it's mysterious demise.

Jun 12, 2011
  • csbryant rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

This is a book about a tree. I never thought that a book about a tree could be so interesting. Really, I never thought a book about a tree (in this sense) could exist. But exist it does, and it was an excellent book.

The Golden Spruce is the story of, well, of the Golden Spruce; a tree that happened by chance. It was a normal Sitka Spruce, but with one genetic mutation, this tree had golden needles. It was revered by the Haida people of Haida Gwaai on the northwest coast of British Columbia, and it was respected by loggers.

The Golden Spruce is also the story of Grant Hadwin. Hadwin was a logger turned environmentalist. He was enraged with the clear-cutting practices occurring in Northwest BC, and decided to take action. Instead of organizing protests, or anything of that sort, he made an example of the Golden Spruce. In a showing of how people care more about one tree than they do the whole forest, he destroyed the tree.

Vaillant’s description of both Hadwin and the Golden Spruce are interwoven with information about the logging industry, both in the past and present, as well as information about the Haida people. He tells so many stories at one time while still managing to keep them separate. A very interesting and compelling book, I look forward to reading The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival.

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Jun 26, 2012
  • spacecat rated this: 3.5 stars out of 5.

spacecat thinks this title is suitable for All Ages


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