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Book Data

ISBN: 9781603585859
Year Added to Catalog: 2014
Book Format: Hardcover
Dimensions: 5.5 x 8.5
Number of Pages: 224
Book Publisher: Chelsea Green
Release Date: October 10, 2014
Web Product ID: 829

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Angels by the River

A Memoir

by James Gustave Speth

"You will not soon read a better or more instructive memoir—a profoundly wise reflection on a life dedicated to solving the largest challenges of our time written by an insider who grew into a radical in the best sense of the word."

David W. Orr, counselor to the president of Oberlin College, and Steven Minter Fellow, the Cleveland Foundation

Reflections on race, environment, politics, and living on the front lines of change

In Angels by the River, James Gustave “Gus” Speth recounts his unlikely path from a southern boyhood through his years as one of the nation’s most influential mainstream environmentalists and eventually to the system­-changing activism that shapes his current work.

Born and raised in a lovely but racially divided town that later became the scene of South Carolina’s horrific Orangeburg Massacre, Speth explores how the civil rights movement and the South’s agrarian roots shaped his later work in the heyday of the environmental movement, when he founded two landmark environmental groups, fought for the nation’s toughest environmental laws, spearheaded programs in the United Nations, advised the White House, and moved into a leading academic role as dean of Yale’s prestigious School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Yet, in the end, he arrived somewhere quite unexpected—still believing change is possible, but not within the current political and economic system.

Throughout this compelling memoir, Speth intertwines three stories—his own, his hometown’s, and his country’s—focusing mainly on his early years and the lessons he drew from them, and his later years, in which he comes full circle in applying those lessons. In the process he invites others to join him politically at or near the place at which he has arrived, wherever they may have started.


About the Author

James Gustave Speth

James Gustave "Gus" Speth is the former dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, founder and president of the World Resources Institute, and co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council. He has also been administrator of the United Nations Development Programme, chair of the U.N. Development Group, professor of law at Georgetown University, and chair of the U.S. Council on Environmental Quality in the Carter administration.

He currently teaches at Vermont Law School, and is a senior fellow at the Democracy Collaborative where he is co-chair of the Next System Project. He is also distinguished senior fellow ...

View James Gustave's full profile page >





Price: $25.00
Format: Hardcover
Status: Available for Pre-order
Available: October 10, 2014


Online for US Orders Only
International orders can be placed by phone (802-295-6300) or email

James Gustave Speth's Upcoming Events

  • Gus Speth at Vermont Global Exchange
    Vermont Global Exchange, Montpelier VT
    September 12, 2014, 9:00 am
  • Gus Speth at the Norwich Bookstore
    Norwich Square, 291 Main Street, Norwich VT
    October 22, 2014, 7:00 pm
  • Gus Speth at Yale University
    Yale University, New Haven CT
    October 27, 2014, 4:00 pm
  • Gus Speth at Antioch University New England
    Antioch University New England, Keene NH
    December 5, 2014, 11:30 am

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