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The National Parks: America's Best Idea

by and

The National Parks: America's Best Idea Cover

 

Staff Pick

The dazzling companion volume to the acclaimed Ken Burns documentary, The National Parks: America's Best Idea chronicles the fascinating history of the world-renowned United States National Park system. Four hundred pages of richly composed text by Dayton Duncan accompany hundreds of magnificent, awe-inspiring photographs.
Recommended by Jeremy, Powells.com

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

The companion volume to the 12-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.

Review:

"Duncan and Burns, who last teamed on Horatio's Drive: America's First Road Trip, rejoin in this visually stunning guide to the unforgettable landscapes and fascinating history of America's national parks. A companion to the documentary miniseries, this book provides not only an armchair tour of the parks but lessons in American history and biography, as Duncan and Burns attempt to answer the question, 'Who are we?' through the foundation and legacy of American conservation. From Yellowstone, the first national park, to Acadia to the Everglades, readers will learn the origins of many of the parks, monuments, and historic areas across the U.S., illustrated with more than a century's worth of photographs. A recurring theme throughout history has been the value and purpose of conservation and beauty, versus utility and tourism, and the story of the parks brings it into brilliant focus; readers will meet characters like John Muir, Horace Albright, Stephen Mather, Adolph Murie, and others who helped create the existing park system (with no shortage of attention paid to Theodore Roosevelt). Likely to inspire adventure-seekers of all generations, this broad, deep, evocative survey is just the kind of volume readers have come to expect from filmmaker and cultural historian Burns." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

The companion volume to the new Ken Burns film: a magnificently illustrated history of the American National Park System.

In a rich, evocative, deeply informative narrative, Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns examine how each new park was brought into the system — from the adventures and myth-making to the intense political battles — and capture the particular importance, splendors, and ideals embodied in each place. They introduce us to the people who were instrumental in the establishment and continued protection of the parks, from the famous figures — John Muir, Teddy Roosevelt, John D. Rockefeller Jr. among them — to the unsung men and women. Here too are six extended interviews with people whose lives have been shaped by their connections to the American landscape (including Terry Tempest Williams) and a vast array of breathtaking photographs, both archival and contemporary.

A glorious celebration of one of the most essential expressions of American democracy.

Synopsis:

This evocative and lavishly illustrated narrative — the companion volume to the 12-hour PBS series — delves into the history of the park idea, from the first sighting by white men in 1851 through to the most recent additions to a system that now encompasses nearly 400 sites and 84 million acres.

Video

About the Author

Dayton Duncan, writer and producer of The National Parks, is an award-winning author and documentary filmmaker. His nine other books include, with Ken Burns, Horatios Drive and Lewis & Clark. He has collaborated on all of Ken Burnss films for twenty years as a writer, producer, and consultant. He lives in Walpole, New Hampshire. Ken Burns, director and producer of The National Parks, founded his own documentary company, Florentine Films, in 1976. His films include The War, Jazz, Baseball, and The Civil War, which was the highest-rated series in the history of American public television. His work has won numerous prizes, including the Emmy and Peabody Awards, and two Academy Award nominations. He received a Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award in 2008. He lives in Walpole, New Hampshire.

Table of Contents

Preface

OUR BEST SELVES

A Treasure House of Nature's Superlatives

 

Chapter One

THE SCRIPTURE OF NATURE

Homeland: An Interview with Gerard Baker

 

Chapter Two

FOR THE BENEFIT OF THE PEOPLE

Transcendence: An Interview with Shelton Johnson

 

Chapter Three

EMPIRE OF GRANDEUR

Stories of Discovery: An Interview with Nevada Barr

 

Chapter Four

GOING HOME

Redefining Beauty: An Interview with Paul Schullery

 

Chapter Five

GREAT NATURE

Democracy at Its Best: An Interview with Juanita Greene

 

Chapter Six

THE MORNING OF CREATION

This Is What We Loved: An Interview with Terry Tempest Williams

 

Afterword

THE BEST DAY

 

Acknowledgments

Selected Bibliography

Index

Illustration Credits

Film Credits

 

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307268969
Author:
Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns
Publisher:
Knopf Publishing Group
Author:
Duncan, Dayton
Author:
Burns, Ken
Subject:
United States - General
Subject:
Environmental Conservation & Protection - General
Subject:
United States History.
Subject:
United States History, Local.
Subject:
US History-General
Publication Date:
20090931
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
440 4-C AND BandW ILLUS IN TXT
Pages:
432
Dimensions:
21.7 x 15.4 x 7.5 in 34.3 lb

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Related Subjects

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The National Parks: America's Best Idea New Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$50.00 In Stock
Product details 432 pages Knopf Publishing Group - English 9780307268969 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

The dazzling companion volume to the acclaimed Ken Burns documentary, The National Parks: America's Best Idea chronicles the fascinating history of the world-renowned United States National Park system. Four hundred pages of richly composed text by Dayton Duncan accompany hundreds of magnificent, awe-inspiring photographs.

"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Duncan and Burns, who last teamed on Horatio's Drive: America's First Road Trip, rejoin in this visually stunning guide to the unforgettable landscapes and fascinating history of America's national parks. A companion to the documentary miniseries, this book provides not only an armchair tour of the parks but lessons in American history and biography, as Duncan and Burns attempt to answer the question, 'Who are we?' through the foundation and legacy of American conservation. From Yellowstone, the first national park, to Acadia to the Everglades, readers will learn the origins of many of the parks, monuments, and historic areas across the U.S., illustrated with more than a century's worth of photographs. A recurring theme throughout history has been the value and purpose of conservation and beauty, versus utility and tourism, and the story of the parks brings it into brilliant focus; readers will meet characters like John Muir, Horace Albright, Stephen Mather, Adolph Murie, and others who helped create the existing park system (with no shortage of attention paid to Theodore Roosevelt). Likely to inspire adventure-seekers of all generations, this broad, deep, evocative survey is just the kind of volume readers have come to expect from filmmaker and cultural historian Burns." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , The companion volume to the new Ken Burns film: a magnificently illustrated history of the American National Park System.

In a rich, evocative, deeply informative narrative, Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns examine how each new park was brought into the system — from the adventures and myth-making to the intense political battles — and capture the particular importance, splendors, and ideals embodied in each place. They introduce us to the people who were instrumental in the establishment and continued protection of the parks, from the famous figures — John Muir, Teddy Roosevelt, John D. Rockefeller Jr. among them — to the unsung men and women. Here too are six extended interviews with people whose lives have been shaped by their connections to the American landscape (including Terry Tempest Williams) and a vast array of breathtaking photographs, both archival and contemporary.

A glorious celebration of one of the most essential expressions of American democracy.

"Synopsis" by , This evocative and lavishly illustrated narrative — the companion volume to the 12-hour PBS series — delves into the history of the park idea, from the first sighting by white men in 1851 through to the most recent additions to a system that now encompasses nearly 400 sites and 84 million acres.
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