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by Kate Nearpass Ogden
Reaktion Books, 2015
eISBN: 978-1-78023-563-9 | Cloth: 978-1-78023-527-1

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.   

See other books on: Nature | Pacific (AK, CA, HI, OR, WA) | Travel | West | Yosemite
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