The garden was the cultural foundation of the early Mediterranean peoples; they acknowledged their reliance on and kinship to the land, and they understood nature through the lens of their diversely cultivated landscape. Their image of the garden underwrote the biblical book of Genesis and the region's three major religions. In this important melding of cultural and ecological histories, James McGregor suggests that the environmental crisis the world faces today is a result of Western society's abandonment of the "First Nature" principle, of the historic, harmonious interrelationship of human and ecological communities. The author demonstrates how this relationship, which persisted for millennia, effectively came to an end in the late eighteenth century, when "nature" came to be equated with untamed landscape devoid of human intervention. McGregor's essential work offers a new understanding of environmental accountability while proposing that recovering the original vision of ourselves, not as antagonists of nature but as cultivators of a biological world to which we innately belong, is possible through proven techniques of the past.