I liked the early chapters of the book – Louv seems to be onto something with his critique of the fear of and apathy towards the outdoors that is so common today. Even though I agreed, I got annoyed that he both seems to hit the reader over the head with similar stories and is less than rigorous in his assertions.
For example on the latter point, he mentions that a personal survey of the autobiographies creative geniuses from the 1800s showed that many of them reported playing outside a lot in things like tree forts when they were kids. He infers from that information that childhood outdoor play leads to adult creativity. However, how many non-creative geniuses also played outdoors just as much as kids? Perhaps everyone in that era played outside a lot, and he only read about the minority that became successful for other reasons?
Those nits aside, I enjoyed the first part of the book, and I will try to spend more time outside with my kids now using some of his suggestions.
However, some of the later chapters left me cold. Specifically, the chapters on completely rearranging cities and development and having no city bigger than 40,000 people ranged from irrelevant to me as an individual to ridiculous. Further, his chapter “The Spiritual Necessity of Nature for the Young” assumed a lot about spirituality and God that I find unnecessary.
So, my advice would be to read the first half of the book and look at the appendix for ideas on how to re-engage your families with nature.