A Thinking Person's Guide To America's National Parks (Paperback)

A Thinking Person's Guide To America's National Parks By Robert E. Manning, Ph.D (Editor), Rolf Diamant (Editor), Nora J. Mitchell, Ph.D. (Editor), David Harmon (Editor) Cover Image

A Thinking Person's Guide To America's National Parks (Paperback)


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On the centennial of the National Park Service, this richly illustrated book offers invaluable advice on exploring America’s national park system.  

The book delves into issues affecting an array of parks: the iconic western national parks like Yellowstone; the urban parks such as Golden Gate National Recreation Area; historic sites including the Statue of Liberty National Monument and Gettysburg National Military Park; and cultural areas like Mesa Verde National Park that are among America’s over 400 national parks.              

Twenty-three essays from contributing authors with deep personal and professional connections to the national parks serve as expert guides to places in the park system where:  

  • much of the nation’s biological and cultural diversity is represented;

  • ideas such as freedom, civil rights, and conservation were conceived;

  • vast wilderness offers solitude and reflection;

  • storied landscapes preserve a sense of place;

  • the balance between recreation and preservation is tested;

  • research and learning engage the next generation;

  • the dynamics of nature are being shaped by a changing climate; and  

  • innovations in technology, sustainability, and stewardship provide a sense of purpose and hope.

Robert E. Manning, Ph.D., is Steven Rubenstein Professor of Environment and Natural Resources at University of Vermont

Rolf Diamant is a former national park superintendent and is now adjunct associate professor at the University of Vermont

Nora J. Mitchell, Ph.D. is former Director, National Park Service Stewardship Institute and is now adjunct associate professor at the University of Vermont

David Harmon is executive director of the George Wright Society.
Product Details ISBN: 9780807600191
ISBN-10: 0807600199
Publisher: George Braziller Inc.
Publication Date: April 4th, 2016
Pages: 300
Language: English
This centenary year of the National Park Service is the perfect moment for A Thinking Person’s Guide to America’s National Parks.... the essays and often breathtaking photographs in this volume expertly examine the more than 400 sites of natural beauty and historic importance that make up the national park system.

— The Wall Street Journal

[A] provocative, seductively illustrated anthology of 23 essays... entries–covering communities and partnerships, new park resources, and the next 100 years–soar with thought-provoking content.
— Publishers Weekly

…provides considerable historical detail and a look at the parks as treasure of the American spirit.
— Library Journal (Starred Review)

... an excellent armchair roadmap to the Park Service’s more than 400 sites and its many priorities and pursuits...
— Brad Tyer - High Country News

This volume, and the issues raised by the some two dozen contributors,provide an important jumping-off point fora number of significant inquiries into the nature,meaning, and future of national parks. The book has an overall celebratory tone, but is very clear in its message that the national park system still has a ways to go before it can live up to its potential as “our great public commons”.... This is a book designed for repeated use and exploration, for readers who want to understand particular issues and questions about the system as a whole more deeply.
— Open Rivers

[A Thinking Person's Guide to America's National Parks] is a welcome, insightful, and richly varied contribution to the literature on the national parks.

— Environmental History Review

... this book brings together ecologists, historians, naturalists, landscape architects, and other specialists who have worked for or studied the National Park Service and the national park system to offer an engaging mix of history and personal reflection.
— Forest History Today