The National Parks

The National Parks

America's Best Idea : An Illustrated History

Book - 2009
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The companion volume to the twelve-hour PBS series from the acclaimed filmmaker behind The Civil War, Baseball, and The War

America's national parks spring from an idea as radical as the Declaration of Independence: that the nation's most magnificent and sacred places should be preserved, not for royalty or the rich, but for everyone. In this evocative and lavishly illustrated narrative, Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan delve into the history of the park idea, from the first sighting by white men in 1851 of the valley that would become Yosemite and the creation of the world's first national park at Yellowstone in 1872, through the most recent additions to a system that now encompasses nearly four hundred sites and 84 million acres.

The authors recount the adventures, mythmaking, and intense political battles behind the evolution of the park system, and the enduring ideals that fostered its growth. They capture the importance and splendors of the individual parks: from Haleakala in Hawaii to Acadia in Maine, from Denali in Alaska to the Everglades in Florida, from Glacier in Montana to Big Bend in Texas. And they introduce us to a diverse cast of compelling characters--both unsung heroes and famous figures such as John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt, and Ansel Adams--who have been transformed by these special places and committed themselves to saving them from destruction so that the rest of us could be transformed as well.

The National Parks is a glorious celebration of an essential expression of American democracy.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, 2009.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9780307268969
Characteristics: p. cm.
Additional Contributors: Burns, Ken 1953- National parks.


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Jun 16, 2016

This companion to the documentary series follows the history and personalities behind the development of the American National Parks system. Some parks get more coverage than others, but the wealth of information, current and archival photos, and human interest stories make the book very worthwhile.

Feb 22, 2010

Too much history for me

Jan 14, 2010

History, minimal geography.


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