An influential author, naturalist, and critic who wrote about the impact of technology on human culture and the environment, he is most famous for works such as The Modern Temper (1929) and The Great Chain of Life (1956). His 1954 work, The Measure of Man, won the National Book Award.
After earning a graduate degree from Columbia University, he served in the army in World War I and subsequently traveled through Europe for a year.
One of his earliest books, The Modern Temper, won acclaim for its criticisms of the effects of modern science.
He was born in Knoxville, Tennessee. He later moved to Tucson, Arizona, where he died of colon cancer in 1970.
He published a 1948 biography of Henry David Thoreau.