Yosemite

Kate Nearpass Ogden

Yosemite

Kate Nearpass Ogden

Distributed for Reaktion Books

208 pages | 70 color plates, 40 halftones | 6 x 8 1/4 | © 2015
Cloth $27.00 ISBN: 9781780235271 Published October 2015 For sale in North and South America only
In 1851 a small militia trekked through California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains and discovered a site so spectacular that, over the succeeding century and a half, millions of others would follow to gaze upon its splendor: Yosemite. Publishing in time for the 125th anniversary of Yosemite National Park, Kate Nearpass Ogden’s Yosemite offers a comprehensive look at both the scientific and cultural history of this remarkable place, exploring everything from its geological origins to the political will it took to preserve it.
           
Known for its unusual and dramatic rock formations, breathtaking vistas, and treasure trove of waterfalls, Yosemite receives nearly four million visitors a year. Scanning over these crowds, Ogden soon leaves them to walk through Yosemite’s history, back to its original name, “Ahwahnee”—given by its Miwok inhabitants—and the tragic irony behind what we call it now, which early Anglo-American visitors mistook as the Miwok appellation, but which some scholars now suggest in fact means “there are killers among them.” Visiting with famed stewards such as John Muir, and lesser-known ones such as James Mason Hutchings and Galen Rowell, she recounts the valley’s discovery by westerners, exploration, exploitation, and its eventual preservation as one of the first National Parks. Ogden also looks at the many artworks it has inspired and the larger hold it has had on the imagination and our dreams of the unspoiled American west.

Rich in detail and beautifully illustrated with everything from landscape photography to paintings inspired by its beauties, this book is a must read for anyone who has ever stepped into this incomparable valley—or anyone who has wanted to.   
Contents
One: Granite Plutons and ‘God’s Great Plow’
Two: Discovery: Weird Beauty and Terrible Grandeur
Three: Yosemite as Home
Four: American Eden
Five: Artists’ Mecca
Six: The Park Idea
Seven: Tourists, Tolls and Trains
Eight: Trouble in Paradise
Nine: A National Playground
References
Select Bibliography
Acknowledgements
Photo Acknowledgements
Index
Review Quotes
Choice
“Ogden presents an engaging introduction to the natural history, discovery, and evolution of Yosemite in this concise, handsomely illustrated, octavo-sized volume. . . . With its crisp prose, 100-plus illustrations (most in color), notes, and bibliography, the book helps readers to understand why the area was first protected in 1864 and why it became a national park in the fall of 1890, and remains among the country's most popular national parks. . . . Highly recommended.”
 
Wanderlust
“Ogden takes in a lungful of classic America in Yosemite. Taking an accessible ramble through its history and geology, it places the park at the centre of the USA’s cultural heartland and changing attitudes.”
Outdoor Photography
“The author looks at the scientific and cultural history of the area. . . . the book features more than 100 images illustrating Nearpass Ogden’s engaging text, together with sections on the geology, plants, and wildlife found in and around Yosemite.”
David Robertson, author of West of Eden: A History of the Art and Literature of Yosemite
“Clear and intelligent writing . . . with instructive sections on geology, plants, and animals, human history, art and literature, tourism, and more. Clearly this is the one book on Yosemite to read and reread. Ogden brings the perspectives of a thoughtful twenty-first-century cultural historian to bear on her subject. Her commentary is most helpful in the chapters that deal with religious and artistic responses to the valley. It is refreshing to have Yosemite placed within the broad context of American ideas and ideals.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
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