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5.0 out of 5 stars Like how John Vaillant writes, Nov. 7 2013
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This review is from: The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed (Paperback)
Like his othe book about siberian tigers. This is a very informative book as well. Hope that he will continue writing and come up with as interesting books as his first two.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, Jan. 31 2013
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This review is from: The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed (Paperback)
This is a well written book.
I am wondering what an update might look like.
I like true stories.
Written by a Canadian.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, Jan. 21 2013
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This review is from: The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this book. The author does a great job of telling this real life story. He not only brings us into the world of the spruce, it's connection to the native people & their history. But also that of Grant Hadwin, making him a relatable and sympathetic antagonist. Filled with drama & intrigue, it is also an interesting study of human nature & psychology as we see Grant slowly decend into apparent insanity. This is one of those books that you can't put down, drawing you in from page one and keeping you there until the very last word. I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good read.
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5.0 out of 5 stars meeting with the fallen tree, Aug. 24 2012
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This review is from: The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed (Paperback)
The Golden Spruce was borrowed at the start of a trip to Haida Gwaii. This book was a stimulating companion during the 18 hour ferry ride from Port Hardy to Prince Rupert and the 7 hour ferry trip to Haida Gwaii. We were staying on the north end of the island and woke the first morning to gale force winds and sheets of rain which continued for our stay. Our escape from natures forces was to walk on the Golden Spruce Trail through the old growth forest to a bench beside the river where the fallen golden spruce remains.

This compelling story added a great deal to our Haida Gwaii adventure and to the converstions that we had along the way. Purchasing copies of this book from Amazon completed this extraordinary journey to the island west of west and to wonder if Grant Hadwin still resides in the forests that he loved.
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4.0 out of 5 stars A Beautiful Tree, Destroyed, Feb. 28 2012
By 
Alison S. Coad (Montreal, Quebec, Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed (Paperback)
"The Golden Spruce" is a non-fiction book by John Vaillant, about a particular mutated spruce tree located on Haida Gwaii, a series of islands off the west coast of British Columbia that is the home territory of the Haida First Nation (as Natives are called in Canada). This was a tree that was born in around 1700, grew very large and with completely golden needles rather than the usual dark green; it was such an amazing sight that the Haida gave it a name (K'iid K'iyaas, meaning "Elder Spruce Tree") and a story to weave it into their cultural mythology. The book is also the tale of Grant Hadwin, a white logger who was most at home in the old-growth rain forests of BC, who developed a passion for environmental causes and who, in February 1997, singlehandedly destroyed K'iid K'iyaas, by cutting into it in such a way that the next strong wind would blow it down. Why did he do that? To protest the clear-cutting of old-growth forest by an industry of which he was a part; he was, apparently, mad. And then he disappeared.... The story itself is replete with mystery and myth, and the author does a good job of making the reader care about all the various factions involved in the world of which he writes. He describes Haida culture with sensitivity and respect, while also treating the logging ethos with similar respect. One might learn more than one wants to about how trees are felled, logged, transported and ruined, but it's a fascinating journey all the same. My one quibble is that there's no index, which would have been useful when wanting to refer back to certain aspects of the story. It'll make you think again about the amount of wood products in your life, which to my mind is a good thing; the publisher (Vintage Canada) makes a point of noting on the back jacket that "this book is printed on paper that is ancient-forest friendly." Good for them, I say; recommended.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A terrific book - well written and well researched, July 26 2014
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This review is from: The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed (Paperback)
A terrific book - well written and well researched. Paints vivid images of life on the west coast.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stunning and bizarre, Jan. 31 2009
By 
Jack Blatant (Ontario, Canada) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed (Paperback)
I wasn't sure what to expect with this book - even the back jacket precis just seemed too strange. Once I had started the book, though, there was no turning back. Goriwng up on the BC coast, I knew a certain amount about the logging industry, but I felt like this book gave me insights which I never would have had otherwise.

This book unfolds in front of you with a simplicity and elegance that I have rarely seen matched. I am a history fan, so I'm sure that made it easier, but I feel like this material would grip even those with no interest in things historical. On top of that, the tragedy and bizarre story of the book's central figure is incredibly compelling. The whole tale is such a sad one, but utterly engrossing in the way that only events too strange for fiction can be.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I love it, Aug. 31 2014
By 
Jam (Langley, B.C. Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed (Paperback)
An amazing true story. Highly recommend. A very all time favorite book.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read!, Jan. 1 2008
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This review is from: The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed (Paperback)
Vaillant's book is about a lot more than a former forestry technician and a rare golden spruce tree - and all of it is interesting and extremely well written.
To set Grant Hadwin's strange act of protest in context, Vaillant covers the history of Pacific North West Indians, especially the Haida, he covers the logging industry in Canada, and he even graces us with a bit of dendrology to explain why the golden spruce was such a rare tree. Along the way, he tells us about Grant Hadwin's personal journey from a member of the logging industry, to an extremely upset anti-logging activist.

On all of these topics, the "Golden Spruce" is a fascinating book. When you add them together, it truly becomes a "must read" piece of non fiction. Being from southern Ontario, and not knowing anything about the logging industry, I found Vaillant's coverage of forestry and logging the most interesting parts of the book.

Writing like this is why I liked the book so much:
"Even under the most favourable circumstances, it takes nature a long time to recover from a clear-cut. Known as 'harvests' in the timber industry, they are shocking things to behold: traumatized landscapes of harrowed earth and blasted timber. Tthe devastation is often so violent and so complete that if a person didn't know loggers had been through, he might wonder what sort of terrible calamity had just transpired: an earthquake? A tornado?"

So read about Hadwin, and ask yourself the following question - is it better to hide behind an iconic local tree, and turn a blind eye to the destruction of nature going on all around you, or to have an act of terrorism wake you up to the fact that all of your forests are gone, and the golden spruce should really be the least of your worries.

And don't forget, as Vaillant points out, by holding his book in your hand, you are complicit in the death of the forests yourself.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Something For Everyone, Sept. 24 2007
By 
B. Hoffman (Vancouver, BC Canada) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed (Paperback)
Not being a fan of historical books I was pleasantly surprised at just how entertaining this story is. While there is a huge amount of information and background on the logging and forest industry in BC the writing is crisp and the tale an interesting one. John Vaillant has obviously done his homework and presents the results of his research in a straightforward mannner, allowing readers in many instances to draw their own conclusions. And he could not have chosen a more intriguing character than Grant Hadwin, a man who objected passionately to the unrestrained destruction of these magnificent forests. While you may strongly disagree with Hadwin's method of protest you can't help but sympathize with the message he was trying to convey. A thoroughly enjoyable, well-written and thought-provoking narrative concerning issues that are just as relevant today.
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The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed
The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed by John Vaillant (Paperback - Jan. 3 2006)
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