The National Parks: America's Best Idea

The National Parks: America's Best Idea

by Dayton Duncan, Ken Burns

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Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375712104
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 05/03/2011
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 193,353
Product dimensions: 9.10(w) x 10.80(h) x 1.40(d)

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, Horatio’s Drive and Lewis & Clark. He has collaborated on all of Ken Burns’s 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 has received 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

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