This oversized (9-1/2 x 11-1/2 inch) hardback is very nearly two distinctly separate books, though “both” are lush in presentation. The first half of this wonderfully written and illustrated tome is a celebration of America’s national parks, with thumbnail histories of every park from Maine to California. The second half of the book focuses upon the mammals a visitor might find there.
This slightly schizophrenic combination is due to the
disciplines of the authors: Burde is professor of forestry at Southern
Illinois University and an expert on U.S. national parks; Feldhammer is a
professor of zoology at the same institution. The two voices —
accompanied by excellent photography from an array of sources — speak
with authority. While exalting in the wilderness of the Great Smoky
Mountains, for example, you’ll also learn of the problems it faces from
non-native species such as the hemlock woolly adelgid — or how the sea
otter has rebounded in some locales, yet is declining due to
overharvesting in others. This is a book for the environmentalist,
naturalist and outdoorsman, alike.
John H. Burde & George A. Feldhamer; $29.95; Johns Hopkins University Press, (410) 516-6900, press.jhu.edu.