This introductory chapter focuses on the development of environmental history. It considers its close links to economic history, cultural history and historical geography, and how engagement and collaboration with science is crucial to the advancement of environmental history. It also discusses how environmental history is often understood as if it first emerged in America in the 1970s. The American initiative, with its enormous talent and crusading energy, set its stamp on the worldwide development of the subject for at least a generation. Its first driving theme was the impact of man on wilderness, so appropriate to the history of the United States, and readily translated to the histories of Australia (where it had already begun to be independently explored), and to Africa and India where it could be conveniently spliced with imperial history.
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