Editorial Reviews for this title:
Mount Rainier is the fifth highest peak in the United States outside of Alaska, and it soars higher above its immediate base than does any other in the lower forty-eight. Its geological and glacial origins and current ecological health are described in the book, as is the century-old stewardship of Mount Rainier National Park. Its stories include accounts by Native people such as Saluskin and Wapowety, climbers from John Muir and Fay Fuller to Willi Unsoeld and Lou Whittaker, and entrepreneurs from the Longmire family to Paul Sceva. Here, too, are the tales of scientists and tourists, park rangers and volunteers. A wealth of illustrations span the decades. Some of the photographs are from albums of the 1912 and 1915 Mountaineers outings; others are by noted early photographers such as Imogen Cunningham and Asahel Curtis and by contemporary photographers such as Ira Spring. Paintings include a sumi by George Tsutakawa and a series specially created by Dee Molenaar.
This compendium makes a useful addition to the existing canon of personal accounts, age-yellowed histories, and helpful guidebooks to Washington State's Mount Rainier National Park. Kirk, who has written on both nature and history, lived in the park for five years, and has both climbed and circled Rainier. The book ranges widely, if not too deeply, into just about everything to do with a remarkable natural landscape capped by the highest mountain--from its base--in the lower 48 states.
Kirk ably considers all sides of the park: the local animals, the history and nature of volcanic activity, the politics of the name "Rainier," and the environmental changes wrought by a boom in the region's population. In the "Voices of the Mountain" sections of the book, first-person written and photographic accounts of Rainier experiences highlight human interaction with the mountain over the last century. Centenarian Floyd Schmoe writes about working in the park in the 1920s, and poet Denise Levertov, who never visited the mountain, writes of its effect on her each time she viewed its snowy peak from her home in Seattle: "always loftier, lonelier than I ever remember." Enlivened by photographs on each page, some from as early as the turn of the century, this book is a fascinating introduction to the mountain Native Americans called Tahoma. --Maria Dolan
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