Summary: The relevance and importance of Samuel P. Hay's book Conservation and the Gospel of Efficiency has only increased over time. Written almost half a century ago, it offers an invaluable history of the conservation movement's origins, and provides an excellent context for contemporary enviromental problems and possible solutions.
The common assumption has been that the conservation movement was part of the popular uprising against control by the business commu ...show morenity-"the people" versus "the interests." Hays's study shows, rather, that it came about as an attempt by scientists and technicians to apply their skills to the development and use of natural resources. The resulting conflicts, far from being concerned with unequal distribution of wealth, were struggles for policy control between conservation leaders and groups of resource users.
Against a background of rivers, forests, ranges, and public lands, this book defines two conflicting political processes: the demand for an integrated, controlled development guided by an elite group of scientists and technicians and the demand for a looser system allowing grassroots impulses to have a voice through elected government representatives.