Angels by the River
Angels by the River
Angels by the River follows James Gustave Speth’s unlikely path—from Southern boyhood to his career as an influential mainstream environmentalist to his current system-changing activism.
In this compelling memoir, Speth explores the issues, and realities, that have shaped the nation since the 1950s, and that turned an “ultimate insider” into someone willing to be arrested in front of the White House.
Born and raised in a lovely but racially divided town that later became the scene of South Carolina’s horrific Orangeburg Massacre, Speth explores how the civil rights movement and the South’s agrarian roots influenced his academic career when he “went North” to Yale University and Yale Law School in the 1960s, as well as during the heyday of the environmental movement, when he helped launch two landmark and influential environmental groups—the Natural Resources Defense Council and the World Resources Institute.
"A longtime friend and ally, Gus Speth is a tireless advocate for the environment. His accumulated stories and knowledge, the kind that could only come from decades of experience at the highest levels, provide a unique and insightful look into our history, and the way forward from here.” — Al Gore, former vice president of the United States
"Angels by the River does what the best memoirs hope to do—launch the reader into a larger collective story. Gus Speth, a native son of the Deep South, has spent his life in the service of justice. He has not only been part of America's social and environmental history, but his leadership has helped shape it. This book is a testament to spirited engagement, showing us how 'the gift of having a cause beyond ourselves' can translate to personal and political transformation. Angels by the River is an antidote against despair and a prayer for action. ” —Terry Tempest Williams, author of The Open Space of Democracy
"I have been fortunate to know this remarkable man, and now readers can, too. I urge you to accompany Gus Speth through his early life in the segregated South, the liberal North, the heady days of the environmental movement and his disenchantment with inside-the-system fixes. You will find the journey engrossing, eye opening, inspiring, and deeply moving.” —Juliet Schor, co-founder of the Center for a New American Dream and author of True Wealth