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Death in Yellowstone: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park Paperback – June 1, 1995
"Seven Skeletons" by Lydia Pyne
An irresistible journey of discovery, science, history, and myth making, told through the lives and afterlives of seven famous human ancestors. Learn more
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Top Customer Reviews
Having lived in the Park, I know it's a very different world. (The story noted by Rhonda, another reviewer, about the bison goring a car - a Lake Lodge employee's Geo Metro in 1991 - is actually quite true.) Many of the deaths are from things you might think of - like climbing falls, eating poisonous plants, and hot pot incidents. Even as I am writing this, another Old Faithful employee died yesterday (8/22/00) in the Park after falling into Cavern Spring in Lower Geyser basin (see Idaho Statesman, 8/23/00, p.2A). But, the book is also full of deaths of the kind you find everywhere else in the world - like heart attacks, suicide, murders (yes, several!), car accidents, plane crashes (six of them - one site of which I've visited - with 20 deaths!), etc. The earliest chronicled deaths are in 1839 and continue through 1994.
Some of the over 300 incidents are briefly related as the facts are slim. Others are told in great detail with quotes, newspaper stories, cemetery inscriptions and exact place names. The simple chronology takes up 5 pages, while the meat of the text takes 198 pages!Read more ›
The book's subtitle, "Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park", sets the tone. Nearly every chronicled death in the book really is due to carelessness on the part of the deceased; or on the part of someone else.
The historian's perspective gives Whittlesey the opportunity to dig into the archives of Yellowstone as well as newspaper accounts in cities in the area taking him (and the readers) back to the 1800's and the park's earliest deaths. For recent events he often spoke with "primary sources", witnesses and family members.
Each of the 25 chapters takes the reader to a different and bizarre way that death has occurred in Yellowstone National Park. The chapter titles, themselves, often give a light hearted and much needed break from the serious nature of the overall work.Read more ›
This was a book that I had mixed feelings about. The first three chapters were the best. These chapters were on deaths from hot springs, death by park animals (except bears), and death by bears. The remaining 22 chapters range from death by poison gasses to death by vehicles. I felt these chapters while factual, were not very exciting.
Overall, I found the book decently researched, but overall I found it kind of depressing. I found the first chapter on the hot springs quite horrific (especially when some of the victims were young kids like my children and a couple involved dogs that just wanted to go swimming). As I read the book, I kept thinking the victims were someone's children, spouse, SO, friends, or other loved one. With this being said, I did find the book respectful and tasteful.
This is a book I think people can take a lesson from. Nature is real and while it should be enjoyed, people need to be reminded that it can be dangerous.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Really interesting book. I've been to Yellowstone several times and definitely have a new respect for it. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
As a former employee of Yellowstone I really enjoyed reading this book and the various stories it lists. Great read.Published 1 month ago by Mojave702
It's not particularly well written, but the information it imparts is interesting.Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Really good information on why to be cautious while visiting this park. Just because it's not exploding doesn't mean it's not an active volcano. Hold on to your kids and your pets. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Traci L.