Beyond the Bío Bío River in southern Chile lies the rainy, tree-covered region of Araucanía, an embattled land, the indigenous warriors and indomitable winds of which Pablo Neruda memorialized in his Canto General (1950). The Bío Bío marked the southernmost limit of the Spanish American Empire under colonialism. It remained a frontier territory (la frontera) controlled by the Mapuche peoples until the late 1800s, when Chilean military-led “pacification” campaigns finally incorporated it into the modern state. Since then, as Klubock shows in this book, state-sponsored efforts to settle and develop the area have transformed the forest ecology into one dominated by monocultural pine plantations—“forests without people, completely uninhabited”—while contributing to a history of systematic dispossession, as landowners appropriated lands, defrauded itinerant workers of their wages, plundered native forests, and released hazardous chemicals into local watersheds (1).

Klubock’s study sits at the intersection of social and environmental history, focusing...

You do not currently have access to this content.