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

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 4 Critic Reviews



A tale of obsession so fierce that a man kills the thing he loves most: the only giant golden spruce on earth.

When a shattered kayak and camping gear are found on an uninhabited island in the Pacific Northwest, they reignite a mystery surrounding a shocking act of protest. Five months earlier, logger-turned-activist Grant Hadwin had plunged naked into a river in British Columbia's Queen Charlotte Islands, towing a chainsaw. When his night's work was done, a unique Sitka spruce, 165 feet tall and covered with luminous golden needles, teetered on its stump. Two days later it fell.

As vividly as John Krakauer puts readers on Everest, John Vaillant takes us into the heart of North America's last great forest.


About John Vaillant

See more books from this Author
John Vaillant is also the author of The Golden Spruce. He has written for The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Outside, National Geographic, and Men's Journal, among others. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with his wife and children.
Published February 21, 2009 by W. W. Norton & Company. 273 pages
Genres: Nature & Wildlife, Science & Math, Education & Reference, Professional & Technical, Sports & Outdoors, Biographies & Memoirs, History, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Golden Spruce

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

Having provided a history of logging and an appreciation of Haida lifeways, the author moves toward its strange center: the tale of an “upper-middle-class prep school refugee” who had found something approaching refuge in the remote woods and become a master logger, widely praised for the quality...

| Read Full Review of The Golden Spruce: A True Sto...

Publishers Weekly

See more reviews from this publication

First-time author Vaillant, who originally wrote about the death of the spruce for the New Yorker , profiles the culprit, an ex-logger turned messianic environmentalist who toppled the famous tree—the only one of its kind—to protest the destruction of British Columbia's old-growth forest, then so...

Feb 14 2005 | Read Full Review of The Golden Spruce: A True Sto...

BC Books

See more reviews from this publication

The Golden Spruce is a meditation on what the spruce itself meant, and a springboard for him to look at the conflict between man and nature in the Northwest.

Mar 04 2007 | Read Full Review of The Golden Spruce: A True Sto...

Entertainment Weekly

Stretching 16 stories into the sky, the one-in-a-million Sitka spruce sprouted needles that were luminously gold — an ''arboreal unicorn'' so rare and beautiful, it was revered by the local Indian tribe and jealously championed by both the logging companies and environmentalists at war in nei...

Apr 25 2005 | Read Full Review of The Golden Spruce: A True Sto...

Reader Rating for The Golden Spruce

An aggregated and normalized score based on 132 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes

Rate this book!

Add Review