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The Golden Spruce: a True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed


  • Medium: hardcover
  • Size: 9.5 × 6.5 inches, 255 pages

  • Winner of the Canada Council for the Arts 2005 Governor General’s Literary Award in Nonfiction
  • U.S. First Edition
  • signed by the author

On a winter night in 1997, a British Columbia timber scout named Grant Hadwin committed an act of shocking violence in the mythic Queen Charlotte Islands. His victim was legendary: a unique 300-year-old Sitka spruce tree, fifty metres tall and covered in luminous golden needles. In a bizarre environmental protest, Hadwin attacked the tree with a chainsaw. Two days later, it fell, horrifying an entire community. Not only was the golden spruce a scientific marvel and a tourist attraction, it was sacred to the Haida people and beloved by local loggers. Shortly after confessing to the crime, Hadwin disappeared under suspicious circumstances and is missing to this day. As John Vaillant deftly braids together the strands of this thrilling mystery, he brings to life the ancient beauty of the coastal wilderness, the historical collision of Europeans and the Haida, and the harrowing world of logging—the most dangerous land-based job in North America.

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John Vaillant

John Vaillant is a journalist who has written for The New Yorker, The Atlantic, National Geographic—Adventure, Outside and Men’s Journal. The Golden Spruce is Vaillant’s first book and has been compared to the works of Jon Krakauer and Sebastian Junger. Combining history, politics, psychology and West Coast ecology, The Golden Spruce (the story first appeared in The New Yorker in 2002) is a dramatic account of a disgruntled logger’s destruction of a legendary tree in the Queen Charlotte Islands. John Vaillant lives in Vancouver.

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