The Last Stand: The War Between Wall Street and Main Street over California’s Ancient Redwoods

Paperback, 5.5 x 8.5,
400 pages.
ISBN: 9781597144414.

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By David Harris

This “gripping and informative” (Publishers Weekly) account of financier Charles Hurwitz’s takeover of the Pacific Lumber Company (PL) in remote Northern California is as much a story about the struggle for the soul of capitalism as it is about the fight to save the ancient redwoods on the company’s lands. For generations the family-owned PL had operated on the banks of the Eel River in Humboldt County under the principle of long-term sustainability over short-term profits: employees were treated respectfully, and no more than seventy percent of old-growth redwoods would be cut in order to give the forest time to reseed. David Harris skillfully combines a journalist’s astute eye for detail and an activist’s moral outrage with fast-paced, thriller-like writing to chronicle the drastic changes that came to not only a corporation but its employees’ entire way of life when the PL was bought out by a Texas-based conglomerate—whose greed-fueled destruction of the redwoods ultimately doomed the enterprise.


A fourth-generation Californian and legendary antiwar activist, David Harris is a former contributing editor at Rolling Stone and the New York Times Magazine and the author of eleven books. His essay “My Redwood Confession” is featured in The Once and Future Forest.