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The Embattled Wilderness: The Natural and Human History of Robinson Forest and the Fight for its Future by Erik Reece and James J. Krupa

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Robinson Forest covers 14,786 acres of land in the heart of Eastern Kentucky, where Perry, Knott and Breathitt Counties converge far from any population centers. It was purchased in 1908 by a Cincinnati lumber company and, after it had been logged, most of it was donated in 1922 to the University of Kentucky. The University has subsequently strip-mined and clear-cut some of it, sparking considerable debate on the merits of using it to generate revenue or for research or for preservation. Erik Reece teaches writing at U.K. and James J. Krupa teaches biology there. Every other chapter provides Krupa’s scientific survey of the riches of the area while every other one provides Reece’s meditations on the struggles engendered by its heritage. In his forward, Wendell Berry writes, “The Embattled Wilderness, in addition to the instruction and gratification it will give to its readers, is exactly the full and discerning evaluation of the forest that the University of Kentucky should have authorized long ago as a part of its stewardship. That this book has no such authorization will surprise nobody.”

Athens: University of Georgia Press, a 2016 paperback reprint of a 2013 release. 144 pages with a Foreword by Wendell Berry and “Works Cited and Consulted” pages and photos. Trade paperback,