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
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.

Publisher: New York : W.W. Norton, c2005
Edition: 1st ed
ISBN: 0393058875
Branch Call Number: 333.7513 V131g 2005
Characteristics: xiii, 255 p., [16] p. of plates :,ill., maps ;,24 cm


From Library Staff

The golden spruce: a true story of myth, madness, and greed
What would drive a logger turned environmentalist to cut down a freakishly beautiful and sacred tree?

From the critics

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Mar 24, 2015

From Seattle library picks.

Jan 19, 2015
  • WVMLStaffPicks rated this: 4 stars out of 5.

A local author writing his first book relates a real life tragedy and mystery with thoughtfulness and informative detail. The story of Haida Gwaii’s golden spruce offers insight into B.C.’s roots—its discovery, culture, landscape and one man’s struggle with the devastation of the coastal rainforest. The reader is haunted by the living spirit of the tree and the sacredness of its place within nature.

Dec 05, 2014
  • rusty_13 rated this: 5 stars out of 5.

This is a fascinating true story about a lumberjack gone rogue. Besides being entertaining, I feel I learned a lot about the history of the timber industry in the Pacific Northwest.

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.

Dec 23, 2012

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.

May 15, 2012

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.

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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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