Revised with a new epilogue and iconic national park art, this fifth edition of National Parks: The American Experience tells the highly engaging story of how Americans invented and expanded the concept of national parks. A prominent adviser to the Ken Burns Emmy Award-winning documentary, "The National Parks: America's Best Idea," Alfred Runte is renowned as the nation's leading historian on the meaning and management of these treasured lands. Lavishly illustrated with period photographs, including eight pages of color paintings, National Parks: The American Experience has never been more beautiful or profound. This remains a stirring look into the lands that define America, from Yosemite and Yellowstone to wilderness Alaska. This is how we got our parks, and yes, how we have occasionally failed them, and when doing so how we have failed ourselves. "Civilization is the problem parks solve," Runte writes. At times, the national parks may seem as imperfect as they are exceptional; the point is that they are all we will ever have. Knowing that earlier America, and planning for the new America, still demands our humility to advance the best of both.
An internationally recognized expert on America's national parks, Alfred Runte is based in Seattle, Washington Runte has also been a guest on Nightline, The Today Show, 48 Hours, the History and Travel channels, and speaks frequently in public forums on the need to protect our parks. His other books include Allies of the Earth: Railroads and the Soul of Preservation, Yosemite: The Embattled Wilderness, and Trains of Discovery: Railroads and the Legacy of Our National Parks, now in its fifth edition. In April 2011, Runte was elected to membership in the College of Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame at Illinois State University (his master's degree institution) "in recognition of exemplary achievement" as a teacher and public scholar. He also holds a B.A. from the State University of New York at Binghamton and a Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara.