“The Greatest Good” film available as 3-DVD set…05/05/2005


The Forest Service Centennial Film "The Greatest Good" is available in a 3-DVD set. As well, the Forest History Society Historian, James Lewis, is putting the final touches on THE companion book to the film entitled "The Forest Service and the Greatest Good: A Centennial History."  An advanced order form is attached where you can save by ordering both the film and the book.  Many are ordering a copy for their own use but many are also ordering copies for members of their family or friends who should know more about the history of the agency you worked for and its contribution to conservation.


The Forest Service centennial film, the "Greatest Good" shows that "From the timbered shores of the Pacific Northwest to the marble halls of Washington, D.C., the fate of the forest is constantly challenged by the constraints of democracy. This breathtaking documentary commemorates the centennial of the Forest Service with the epic story of the struggle to manage the nation’s resources amid global change."  The first DVD in the set will have the final film.  The two bonus disks will contain numerous featurettes of topics that did not make it into the film or that were only briefly discussed, and will have a variety of old moving footage including Lassie clips and Smokey Bear advertisements.


The Companion book with a Foreword by Char Miller, Gifford Pinchot Biographer, will be a 250-300 page well-illustrated book that generally follows the film but will include deeper discussion on some topics as well as some topics that were not discussed in the film.  It will be attractive for the general reader, as well as a resource for national forest enthusiasts, the natural resource professional, and for the teacher/educator looking for curriculum background.


In addition to the companion book you can order the CD of original MUSIC from the film.  It's great listening and brings you right back to what you remember about the film.


For descriptions of the DVD set and the Companion book as well as other centennial related books you can go to the Forest History web site at: http://www.foresthistory.org/Publications/USFS%20centennial.html. 


The additional books being offered include:

  • The Chiefs Remember: The Forest Service, 1952-2001, by Harold K. Steen

The Chiefs Remember presents excerpts from interviews with Forest Service chiefs whose tenures span fifty years: Richard E. McArdle, 1952-62; Edward P. Cliff, 1962-72; John R. McGuire, 1972-79; R. Max Peterson, 1979-87; F. Dale Robertson, 1987-93; Jack Ward Thomas, 1993-97; and Michael P. Dombeck, 1997-2001.


  • Jack Ward Thomas: Journals of a Forest Service Chief

Jack Ward Thomas (1934-    ), an eminent wildlife biologist and US Forest Service career scientist, was drafted in the late 1980s to head teams of scientists to develop strategies for managing the habitat of the northern spotted owl.  That assignment led to his selection as Forest Service chief during the early years of the Clinton administration.  It is history's good fortune that Thomas kept journals of his thoughts and daily experiences, and that he is a superb writer able to capture the moment with clarity and



  • CENTENNIAL EDITION of The U.S. Forest Service: A History

With a new preface by the author, this edition of Harold K. Steen's classic history (originally published in 1976) provides a broad perspective on the Service's administrative and policy controversies and successes. Steen updates the book with discussions of a number of recent concerns, among them the spotted owl issue; wilderness and roadless areas; new research on habitat, biodiversity, and fire prevention; below-cost timber sales; and workplace diversity in a male-oriented field.



As a reminder, the 3-DVD set is expected to be available in the next few weeks while the companion book is expected to be available in August.  They will be sent to you as soon as they are available.  Other books and the CD orders can be shipped right away.


If you have any questions, please contact us at 919-682-9319.   Andrea and Carol will be pleased to take your order.   And please feel free to forward this note to anyone who might be interested.







Steven Anderson, President

Forest History Society

701 Vickers Ave.

Durham, NC 27701

(919)682-9319 (Office)

(919)682-2349 (Fax)