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Nature's Army: When SOldiers Fought for Yosemite

Meyerson, Harvey

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ISBN 10: 0700611215 / ISBN 13: 9780700611218
Published by University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 2001
Hardcover
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336 p. Illustrations. Abbreviations Used in the Notes. Notes. Index. This is one of the Development of Western Resources series. This bookcelebrate a crucial but largely forgotten episode in our nation's history--the rescue of our national parks by soldiers with an environmental ethic generations ahead of its time. In Nature's Army, Harvey Meyerson chronicles this unexpected but fascinating tale and shows why its impact and relevance still resonate today. Despite the worldwide renown and popularity of Yosemite National Park, few people know that its first stewards were drawn from the so-called Old Army. From 1890 until the establishment of the National Park Service in 1916, these soldiers proved to be extremely competent and farsighted wilderness managers. Meyerson recaptures the forgotten history of these early environmentalists and shows how their work countered the army's Indian-fighting image and set significant standards for the future oversight of our national parks. The army, Meyerson suggests, had actually been well prepared to assume this stewardship. During its first hundred years--and despite the interruptions of warfare--its soldiers had crisscrossed the American landscape, preparing maps, and writing detailed reports describing climate, weather, physical terrain, ecosystems, and the diverse flora and fauna populating the lands they explored and often protected during an era of wide open exploitation of natural resources. Such experience made the army better suited than any other federal agency to oversee the early national parks system. So great was the army's ultimate environmental influence that the National Park Service embraced the army model as its own, right down to the uniforms still worn today. In fact, many of the first civilian rangers were drawn directlyfrom the army, while some of the Sierra Club's most outspoken early members were cavalrymen serving in Yosemite. Combining environmental, military, political, and cultural history, Meyerson's study is especially timely in light of Yosemite's enormous popularity (four million visitors annually) and recent controversies pitting conservation forces against dam builders and proponents of expanded public access. A senior staff member at the Library of Congress's Congressional Research Service, Meyerson contends that soldiers of the Old Army (pre-Spanish American War) were the unsung heroes of the national parks. For 25 years before the creation of the National Park Service, soldiers protected, surveyed, and enforced the laws in parks like Yellowstone and Yosemite. They also built trails and roads still used by visitors today. Very good in very good dust jacket. Signed by author. Bookseller Inventory # 66526

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Bibliographic Details

Title: Nature's Army: When SOldiers Fought for ...

Publisher: University Press of Kansas, Lawrence, KS

Publication Date: 2001

Binding: Hardcover

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: First edition. First printing [stated].

About this title

Synopsis:

Blessings on Uncle Sam's soldiers! They have done their job well, and every pine tree is waving its arms for joy.— John Muir

Muir's words and this book both celebrate a crucial but largely forgotten episode in our nation's history—the rescue of our national parks by soldiers with an environmental ethic generations ahead of its time. In Nature's Army, Harvey Meyerson chronicles this unexpected but fascinating tale and shows why its impact and relevance still resonate today.

Despite the worldwide renown and popularity of Yosemite National Park, few people know that its first stewards were drawn from the so-called Old Army. From 1890 until the establishment of the National Park Service in 1916, these soldiers proved to be extremely competent and farsighted wilderness managers. Meyerson recaptures the forgotten history of these early environmentalists and shows how their work countered the army's Indian-fighting image and set significant standards for the future oversight of our national parks.

The army, Meyerson suggests, had actually been well prepared to assume this stewardship. During its first hundred years-and despite the interruptions of warfare-its soldiers had crisscrossed the American landscape, preparing maps, and writing detailed reports describing climate, weather, physical terrain, ecosystems, and the diverse flora and fauna populating the lands they explored and often protected during an era of wide open exploitation of natural resources. Such experience made the army better suited than any other federal agency to oversee the early national parks system.

So great was the army's ultimate environmental influence that the National Park Service embraced the army model as its own, right down to the uniforms still worn today. In fact, many of the first civilian rangers were drawn directly from the army, while some of the Sierra Club's most outspoken early members were cavalrymen serving in Yosemite.

Combining environmental, military, political, and cultural history, Meyerson's study is especially timely in light of Yosemite's enormous popularity (four million visitors annually) and recent controversies pitting conservation forces against dam builders and proponents of expanded public access.

From the Back Cover:

"Compelling and well written, this is a superb contribution to both military history and the history of environmentalism and the West."--Russell F. Weigley, author of The American Way of War

"A lively, readable, and, for many, surprising story. These army officers not only rigorously carried out their task of protecting Yosemite but, in the process, demonstrated a clear understanding of and genuine sensitivity to the environment."--Edward M. Coffman, author of The Old Army: A Portrait of the American Army in Peacetime

"A major contribution to our understanding of preservation efforts in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries."--Donald J. Pisani, author of To Reclaim a Divided West

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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