Morning reading around here.
This dude’s prose is magic. More of my favorite bits from the Prologue:
…coastal cultures were often torn between two dominant epistemologies concerning the natural world. The first considered the ocean (and to some extend water in general) unchanging, eternal, and somehow exempt from human influence. The second believed that terrestrial land could be–and often must be–“improved.” It was the push and pull of these two conceptions of nature that shaped coastal space. At one end of the estuary lay dry land easily measured by the surveyor’s rod, and at the other, a trackless, eternal ocean that defied European underpinnings of ownership, jurisdiction, and even the passage of time. And somewhere in between, caught in the conceptual wrack that collects along the farthest reaches of the tide, lay European assumptions about the natural world. By reimagining an estuary in light of these ecological and cultural complexities, we can reconstruct littoral settlement and development, not as the opposition of English culture to pristine nature, but as spaces that were neither “wild” nor “civilized” in which people used nature and were shaped by it in return.”