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Acknowledged classic work on the history of National Parks from their founding to the 21st century, this book provides a vivid account of the political, cultural, environmental and technological changes impacting the America’s National Park System.
National Parks have always been understood as sacred sites symbolizing and embodying God’s granting of exceptional status to American pioneers and their descendants. Their status has become engrained in American culture over the years through their marketing as pilgrimage sites—uniquely important tourist attractions—and their endorsement by public figures. This book melds the themes of environment, civic religion and tourism culture to provide a rich analysis of our National Parks. s.
The first environmental history of one of what is perhaps America’s most storied and well known national park. The book paints an eye-opening picture of the park and its meaning to the world, showing how Yellowstone's "discovery" by whites followed thousands of years of use by native Americans, and how the park's founding became a creation myth for the conservation movement. The meaning use of Yellowstone has been and remain as fluid as the society in which it exists.
Saguaro National Park
Saguaro Cactus growing in Saguaro National Park, Arizona. Image courtesy of National Geographic.
Directed by Ken Burns, America’s premier popular documentarian, this video narrates the birth of the national park idea in the mid-1800s and traces its evolution nearly to the present. Featuring stunning cinematography, first person accounts of historical figures, interviews of historians, Native Americans, environmentalists and other experts, contemporary accounts of people who have been transformed by their encounter with the parks, and more, this documentary is perhaps the best introduction to the National Parks imaginable.
This collection of documentaries from the PBS “Great Lodges of the National Parks” series goes beyond portrayals of particular lodges to explore the history of historic lodges, their architectural styles, their intellectual purposes (to accentuate rather than compete with nature) and their relationships with the parks. Most of these lodges are themselves Historical Landmarks, and their original construction—often by railroad companies—and functions reveal a side of the Natural Parks that would not be obvious to the causal visitor.
Theodore Roosevelt was a naturalist before he was a politician, and bestselling historian Douglas Brinkley breathes life into his epic struggle to preserve nature for future generations. Although Roosevelt’s passion for conservation was complicated—tangled as it was with his views on Darwinism, Manifest Destiny and religion—his inspired leadership helped create the National Wildlife Refuge System, the United States Forest Service and the Biological Survey. It is impossible to know what the National Park Service would look like today if Theodore Roosevelt had not taken a hand in shaping American thought about nature.
Over a period of 14 years 400 workers struggled to create this series of 60 foot carvings in the Black Mountains. As epic a tale as the creation of the Brooklyn Bridge, little is known about the story behind the creation of Mount Rushmore. This book by former Newsweek editor John Taliaferro tells that story as well as providing a seemingly comprehensive litany of details about the monument. How did it affect automobile tourism, why was it occupied by Native Americans, what role did it play in Hitchcock’s North by Northwest.
National Parks, the Frontier, Western Expansion, Indian Wars, the history of the American West is often understood as a series of romantic episodes that took place before the Frontier closed and the West was modernized. National Parks are often seen as meeting places of the past and present, areas where the romance is preserved. This book argues for a stark break with that understanding. Rather, the author argues that the ‘opening’ of the West was a process driven by economic factors, that the development of the west—including inter-ethnic violence and frontier justice—was likewise part of over-arching economic development, and that economics continues to drive life in the West to this very day.