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An American Idea: The Making of the National Parks Paperback – September 8, 2009
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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.
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The text covers the idea of national parks starting with lands reserved for the King of England. It traces American Transcendentalists who helped popularize the idea of nature. It also details some of the early expeditions into the West to explore areas that became U.S. National Parks. The book also summarizes Teddy Roosevelt's importance in setting aside lands. It should be noted that Yellowstone, Yosemite, and the Grand Canyon make up the bulk of the material. There is very little on any of the other parks here. In addition the book ends in the early 20th century so there is little on how the Park Service evolved or conservation fights later.
The book is a very good summary of how National Parks came to be for a general audience. If you are looking for a more meaty treatment of the subject look to "National Parks: The American Experience" by Alfred Runte. If you are looking for a general treatment with a lot of illustrations then this book may be what you are seeking. There are few books that will give you the history of parks in such a nice layout.