First published in 1949 and praised in The New York Times Book Review as "a trenchant book, full of vigor and bite," Sand County Almanac combines some of the finest nature writing since Thoreau with an outspoken and highly ethical regard for America's relationship to the land. Written with an unparalleled understanding of the ways of nature, the book includes a section on the monthly changes of the Wisconsin countryside; another part that gathers informal pieces written by Leopold over a forty-year period as he traveled through the woodlands of Wisconsin, Iowa, Arizona, Sonora, Oregon, Manitoba, and elsewhere; and a final section in which Leopold addresses the philosophical issues involved in wildlife conservation. As the forerunner of such important books as Annie Dillard's Pilgrim at Tinker Creek, Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire, and Robert Finch's The Primal Place, this classic work remains as relevant today as it was forty years ago.
The book begins with the actual "Sand County Almanac," which is divided into twelve segments -- one for each month. There are anecdotes and observations about flora and fauna's reactions to the seasons as well as mentions of conservation topics. The second section of the book, "Sketches Here and There," discusses a few other wildernesses in the Canada, Mexico, and the United States and how conservation, or lack thereof, affects them.
The book ends with "Land Ethic," which is Leopold's plan for conservation. Leopold's idea is that land is not a commodity to be possessed; rather, humans must have mutual respect for Earth in order to not destroy it. He also puts forth the idea that humans will never be free if they have no wild spaces in which to roam.