Nate Schweber presents 'This America Of Ours: Bernard and Avis DeVoto and the Forgotten Fight to Save the Wild'

". . .heart-rending biography of two of America’s greatest conservationists and their fortitude in the face of governmental corruption and attacks on our public lands. . . Nate Schweber has written a splendid love story as well as a beautiful book for our burning, struggling times." —Rick Bass

 

Third Place Books welcomes journalist and conservationist Nate Schweber to our Seward Park store! Schweber will be discussing his book This America Of Ours: Bernard and Avis DeVoto and the Forgotten Fight to Save the Wild, a biographical account of a progressive alliance that altered the course of twentieth-century history and saved American wilderness. This event is free and open to the public. Registration is required in advance.

Copies of This America of Ours will be available for purchase at the store. This event will include a public signing and time for audience Q&A. Sustain our author series by purchasing a copy of the featured book!

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About This America of Ours. . .

The untold story of one history-making marriage and the dramatic fight to defend American wilderness from McCarthyism’s menace

In late-1940s America, few writers commanded attention like Bernard DeVoto. Alongside his brilliant wife and editor, Avis, DeVoto was a firebrand of American liberty, free speech, and perhaps our greatest national treasure: public lands. But when a corrupt band of lawmakers, led by Senator Pat McCarran, sought to quietly cede millions of acres of national parks and other western lands to logging, mining, and private industry, the DeVotos entered the fight of their lives. Bernard and Avis built a broad grassroots coalition to sound the alarm—from Julia and Paul Child to Ansel Adams, Arthur Schlesinger Jr., Alfred Knopf, Adlai Stevenson, and Wallace Stegner—while the very pillars of American democracy, embodied in free and public access to Western lands, hung in the balance. Their dramatic crusade would earn them censorship and blacklisting by Joe McCarthy, J. Edgar Hoover, and Roy Cohn, and it even cost Bernard his life.

In This America of Ours, award-winning journalist Nate Schweber uncovers the forgotten story of a progressive alliance that altered the course of twentieth-century history and saved American wilderness—and our country’s most fundamental ideals—from ruin.

Praise for This America of Ours. . .

"It’s eerie, the way the best reporters, working long years on deep research, end up publishing the exact right book for the moment when it’s most needed. This uplifting, heart-rending biography of two of America’s greatest conservationists and their fortitude in the face of governmental corruption and attacks on our public lands is inspiring. Nate Schweber has written a splendid love story as well as a beautiful book for our burning, struggling times."
Rick Bass, author of For a Little While

"Finally, someone has written the biography that Avis and Bernard DeVoto deserve. Nate Schweber delivers their tale with verve and nuance, effortlessly weaving together the fight over America's vast wilderness heritage with the politics of Cold War Washington, all within the life story of one of the country's most important literary couples."
Clay Risen, author of The Crowded Hour

"Bernard DeVoto was America's great environmentalist before the term was coined. He was a populist, while remaining a great liberal. He gave Americans a lyrical history of the conquest of the west while admitting the moral ambiguity of it. He was an internationalist while never leaving the soil of the United States. This and more is why, in these fraught times for our nation, Nate Schweber's biography is so urgent and necessary."
Robert D. Kaplan, author of An Empire Wilderness and Earning the Rockies

"This America of Ours is an intimate, compelling portrait of one of America’s most consequential literary partnerships. Bernard and Avis DeVoto were magnetic intellectuals who spent their lives defending public lands and constitutional freedoms; Nate Schweber narrates their battles against McCarthyism and Congressional land grabs in vivid and witty prose. Using previously unpublished sources, Schweber illuminates the lives of both Bernard and Avis, and reveals the intensity of their friendships with luminaries like Julia Child and Robert Frost. A must read for anyone interested in the dramatic politics of conservation at America’s midcentury—and anyone who enjoys a strong martini."
Megan Kate Nelson, author of Saving Yellowstone: Exploration and Preservation in Reconstruction America

"Charming and absorbing, This America of Ours is the biography of a marriage between two lavishly talented characters, the witty and profane Avis DeVoto, who would become Julia Child's best friend and editor, and western historian and conservationist Bernard DeVoto. Schweber weaves together their fight to save public lands in the West with a moving account of their literary partnership and enduring love. The result is an exuberant delight, full of the couple's righteous invective against crooked politicians and their devotion to haute cuisine: Don't miss the recipe for the DeVoto Dry Martini."
Caroline Fraser, author of Prairie Fires: The American Dreams of Laura Ingalls Wilder


Nate Schweber is the author of This America of Ours: Bernard and Avis DeVoto and the Forgotten Fight to Save the Wild (Mariner, 2022). An award-winning journalist, his work has appeared in The New York Times, Anthony Bourdain’s Explore Parts Unknown, and others. His conservation articles won awards from the Outdoor Writers Association of America in 2015 and 2018. In 2020, a ProPublica series he contributed to won the Pulitzer Prize for national reporting. Born in Missoula, Montana, he attended the University of Montana School of Journalism and now lives in Brooklyn, NY.


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