With President Donald Trump’s decision to slash the acreage of two national monuments in the news, here are three classic books about our system of national parks, monuments and other protected lands.
Desert Solitaire: A Season in the Wilderness (Harper Perennial) by Edward Abbey is the 1968 masterpiece of the lion of American environmental writers. Abbey’s lyrical account of his time as a park ranger at Arches National Monument in Utah and other travels in the Southwest rings with his passion for the natural world and anger at those who pointlessly despoil it.
The National Parks: America’s Best Idea (Knopf) by Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns is a companion book to the 2009 PBS series. This visually stunning guide covers landmark parks from Acadia to Zion, major figures like John Muir and Theodore Roosevelt, and the history of a system founded to ensure the nation’s most magnificent places will always belong to all its people.
The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America (Harper Perennial) by Douglas Brinkley is a sweeping biography, first published in 2009, of the Republican president’s essential efforts to create the national parks system. Between 1901 and 1909, Roosevelt, a lifelong naturalist, worked to set aside more than 230 million wilderness acres for protection and public use, including such treasures as Devils Tower, the Grand Canyon and the Petrified Forest.