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Publisher's Summary

National Best Seller

Named a Best Book of 2021 by Newsweek, the San Francisco Chronicle, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times

“A glorious book - an assured novel that’s gorgeously told.” (The New York Times Book Review)

“An incredibly moving epic about an unforgettable family.” (CBS Sunday Morning)

“[An] absorbing novel. ... I felt both grateful to have known these people and bereft at the prospect of leaving them behind.” (The Washington Post)

A stunning novel about love, work, and marriage that asks how far one family and one community will go to protect their future.

Colleen and Rich Gundersen are raising their young son, Chub, on the rugged California coast. It’s 1977, and life in this Pacific Northwest logging town isn’t what it used to be. For generations, the community has lived and breathed timber; now that way of life is threatened.

Colleen is an amateur midwife. Rich is a tree-topper. It’s a dangerous job that requires him to scale trees hundreds of feet tall - a job that both his father and grandfather died doing. Colleen and Rich want a better life for their son - and they take steps to assure their future. Rich secretly spends their savings on a swath of ancient redwoods. But when Colleen, grieving the loss of a recent pregnancy and desperate to have a second child, challenges the logging company’s use of the herbicides she believes are responsible for the many miscarriages in the community, Colleen and Rich find themselves on opposite sides of a budding conflict. As tensions in the town rise, they threaten the very thing the Gundersens are trying to protect: their family.

Told in prose as clear as a spring-fed creek, Damnation Spring is an intimate, compassionate portrait of a family whose bonds are tested and a community clinging to a vanishing way of life. An extraordinary story of the transcendent, enduring power of love - between husband and wife, mother and child, and longtime neighbors. An essential novel for our times.

©2021 Ash Davidson (P)2021 Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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What listeners say about Damnation Spring

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Many sides to the story, beautifully told

This book is fiction, but it is true in many ways. It reminded me of the conflicts that continue to this day over western lands and who should benefit from them. The indigenous inhabitants, still occupying their ancestral lands? People who make their living from natural resources, logging in this case, but could also include fishermen and miners? People who want to experience the natural wonders in state and national parks? The characters who represent all of these viewpoints are vividly and sympathetically drawn in Ms. Davidson's book, and the writing is beautiful.

6 people found this helpful

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This story got into my bones.

This book is so well written. After I was done listening, it took a few days to stop constantly thinking about these characters and their lives.

4 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Good try

Good try, but this book was a slog. Good descriptions, but so tedious, had to skip some chapters to get through it and found I did not miss much. Narrator good.

2 people found this helpful

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A wonderful story beginning to end.

Just read this book. There are no words I can write to do it justice. You just have to read it yourself.

1 person found this helpful

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Heartfelt and Thought Provoking

Having lived through the 1970’s, this novel rings true in its portrayal of the seeming opposing environmentalists or “hippies” and the Northwest timber industry. The complexities of the desire to protect ancient forests, the needs of civilization for wood for housing and other vital interests, and the concerns of the native peoples and families who have owned and invested in the land with their homes and lives are all juxtaposed in this masterfully written story. But the heart of it is surely Colleen, whose heartbreaking path to motherhood and family will resonate with anyone who has ever loved or lost a child. And her husband Rich will remind you that a man can be good even when confused and struggling. The narration was perfect, alternating between Rich and Colleen and their young son Chub. Definitely worth a credit.

1 person found this helpful

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This book has it all!

Damnation Spring pulls you into the lives of loggers in Northern CA in the 70s. It’s written with the clarity of spring water and reading it was utterly refreshing. This is the story of a close-knit, working class community and the ups and downs of logger’s lives when mixed with the unpredictability of Mother Nature, the government & corporate interests. It focuses heavily on marriage, family, loyalty and how far people will go to protect them. Loved it.

1 person found this helpful

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long slog through the mud

did not care for narration. interesting story., trouble with the voices. a bit boring at times

1 person found this helpful

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24/7….

Is how I wanted to listen to this book, it was so good!
It was a novel about family - the goods and the bads. Of remaining family, even in the worst.
An awesome book, well written.

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An Unconventional Topic

I enjoyed the human drama behind this tale of the Redwoods in the 70’s, although the specific processes of the industry eluded my limited knowledge of the logging/ timber industry. Too often the authors ended scenes abruptly, and I totally disagreed with two decisions regarding two main characters near the end of the book, but I found the presentation of more than one side of a character or opposing viewpoints to be illuminating.

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    4 out of 5 stars

Good novel

This novel succeeded in transporting me to a different time and place: a Pacific Northwest logging community in the 1970's. The main characters are Colleen and Rich, a married couple with one child. Rich is a logger struggling with the government restrictions. Colleen has suffered numerous miscarriages and starts to wonder if logging chemicals might be a cause. This book takes a long time before the plot starts to kick in. It was interesting enough that I was okay with the slowness of the plot, but that did keep this at just a 4-star novel to me. Overall it was a very good book with some powerful moments. I like that it was sympathetic to both the old school loggers and the environmentalist who looks to change the old way of life. This book is about a family and a community dealing with the clash with modern times.