Book Review

1 Dec

The Golden Spruce : A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed by John Vaillant

This book is the story of a seemingly impossible event; it is about a tree being murdered. The situation was unique.  The Golden Spruce was no ordinary tree. It was an unexplained scientific mystery, a tree with shining gold needles. The action takes place in the Queen Charlotte Islands in the remote Northern Provinces of Canada. The descriptions of the temperate rainforest landscape are beautiful because the ecosystem is so special. John Vaillant sets the scene by explaining how plants grow exceptionally large and tangled together because of the constant rainfall in the harsh climate. The unique environment of the Queen Charlotte islands lead to the development of a particularly unique and interesting native culture.

The Golden Spruce was sacred to the native people and they believed a child’s spirit was trapped inside. The book includes the legend of the Golden Spruce as told by a grandmother to her grandchild. It is especially touching because the book is a non-fiction, making it easy to identify with the lives of real people. The myths surrounding the single golden tree are fascinating but the true story of it’s death is even harder to believe.

 The dramatic turn of events that led to the crime is examined with a historical perspective. Tension and anger had been building for a long time in the community. The culture of loggers who risked their lives without any safety precautions was a live fast, get rich, be lucky or die young type of life.

The story of what happened to the Golden Spruce is so strange it is hardly credible. An ex logger turned environmentalist ran from the law after he did the terrible deed of cutting down the sacred tree. He lived out in the wilderness running from the strange charges against him. Find out what happens when you read The Golden Spruce : A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed by John Vaillant.

Ciao,

-Hester

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