Synopses & Reviews
The national park system ranks among our most magnificent achievements and the story of its creation reveals how the American landscape shaped our history and character and continues to do so almost 175 years after painter George Catlin first proposed “a nations Park.”
In these lavishly illustrated pages, award-winning author Kim Heacox chronicles our changing visions of wildness from the 17th century, when the first settlers built towns around shared commons, to 1916, when the National Park Service initiated a new kind of common-unspoiled parkland held in trust for Americans everywhere.
Here are explorers like Daniel Boone, Kit Carson, and John Wesley Powell, who reported wonders so amazing they were met with disbelief. Here too are farsighted leaders like Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt, and other sponsors of such parks as Yosemite and Yellowstone.
In spectacular counterpoint, 100 illustrations unveil a pristine new world that awed the artists and photographers from Eadweard Muybridge to Ansel Adams. An epilogue summarizes developments since 1916, and an appendix provides descriptions of every national park. A tale of discovery and an eloquent testament to our unparalleled natural glories, this is more than an account of our national parks: its a telling portrait of the essential America.
Foreword by Jimmy Carter.
In An American Idea: The Making of the National Parks, Kim Heacox--winner of the Benjamin Franklin Nature Book Award, and twice winner of the Lowell Thomas Award for excellence in travel journalism--explores the development of our nation' s environmental consciousness. Heacox depicts the remarkable feats accomplished by dedicated people, from Lewis and Clark and Henry David Thoreau to John Muir and Teddy Roosevelt. Delving into original sources that date back to the 1600s, he pieces together an inspirational story peopled with such fascinating characters as young artist Thomas Moran, whose stunning landscapes of Yellowstone compelled Congress to deem it the first national park, and John Wesley Powell, the one-armed Civil War officer who first mapped the Grand Canyon.
Enhanced by a portfolio of Ansel Adam' s photography, commissioned in the 1940s by the Department of the Interior to bring the beauty of the parklands to greater public awareness, An American Idea: The Making of the National Parks is a literary and visual treasure. Through compelling text enriched with stunning photographs, maps, and paintings--many of which have never been seen--this volume gives three centuries of American history an original and unexpected twist.
This authoritative and beautifully illustrated book traces the evolution of the American land ethic from the 1600s to the creation of the national park service in 1916, with an Epilogue featuring the work of Ansel Adams. 175 illustrations.
About the Author
Kim Heacox is a natural history writer and photographer. He is the author of ten books and frequent magazine articles, including Antarctica. His photography has appeared in National Geographic magazine, The New York Times, and Smithsonian.