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Yellowstone: A Wilderness Besieged Paperback – October 1, 1988
Scientific Teaching Series
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From the Inside Flap
"Without question the best and most thought-provoking volume on America's first national park that has been written in the last half-century." --Journal of the West
"Broad ranging, informative, thoughtful, and simply fun to read." --Western Historical Quarterly
From the Back Cover
Top Customer Reviews
Bartlett's main interest is the history of the tourism business in Yellowstone, and the main narrative ends in the 1960s when large national corporations took over the concessions from local firms. Thus, the title is a bit of a misnomer - - the serious besieging of wilderness came in the 1960s and 1970s, when Bartlett's story is more or less over. In addition, he's not particularly interested in the wilderness or the nature (he has a different book for that).
The organization of the book is thematic, but in a way that lets Bartlett tell a more-or-less chronological story. The book's 15 chapters are divided into five parts: the visitors, the concessionaires, the superintendents, the raiders and defenders, the people. He begins with the earliest Euro-American visitors, and his accounts of local pioneer families visiting the park are distinctive in the Yellowstone literature. His concessionaire stories begin well before Yellowstone becomes a park, and he emphasizes the many different small firms rather than the larger consolidations that emerged after the National Park Service arrived in 1916. Similarly, he spends much more time on the pre-1916 superintendents and surprisingly little space even on Horace Albright, much less Albright's successors.
In short, this is a valuable book if for Yellowstone's first half-century or so, much less so for the post-1945 period. It's best if you're interested in the tourists and the visitors who serve them, not so useful for wildlife and natural history.