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Download The National Parks: America's Best Idea Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The National Parks: Americas Best Idea, by Dayton Duncan Click for printable size audiobook cover
4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 4.00 (248 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Dayton Duncan, Ken Burns Narrator: Dayton Duncan, Ken Burns Publisher: Penguin Random House Format: Abridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: September 2009 ISBN: 9780739366332
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America’s national parks spring from an idea as radical as the Declaration of Independence: that the nation’s most magnificent and sacred places should be preserved, not for royalty or the rich, but for everyone. In this evocative and lavishly illustrated narrative, Ken Burns and Dayton Duncan delve into the history of the park idea, from the first sighting by white men in 1851 of the valley that would become Yosemite and the creation of the world’s first national park at Yellowstone in 1872, through the most recentadditions to a system that now encompasses nearly four hundred sites and 84 million acres.

The authors recount the adventures, mythmaking, and intense political battles behind the evolution of the park system, and the enduringideals that fostered its growth. They capture the importance and splendors of the individual parks: from Haleakala in Hawaii to Acadia in Maine, from Denali in Alaska to the Everglades in Florida, from Glacier in Montana to Big Bend in Texas. And they introduce us to a diverse cast of compelling characters—both unsung heroes and famous figures such as John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt, and Ansel Adams—who have been transformed by these special places and committed themselves to saving them from destruction so that the rest of us could be transformed as well.

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Listener Opinions

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Wendy Hill | 2/16/2014

    " I loved reading the history of the National Parks. It got me homesick for the West as I remembered camping on most of these National Parks growing up, and what do you know, we moved West! This book is based on the PBS mini series by Ken Burns. The parks are written about in the order the National Park was formed. The history on making Yellowstone a National Park was most interesting, and I learned a lot about Pres. Teddy Roosevelt's role in helping establish these national treasures. I'm even (trying) to collect National Parks quarters now. Side note: Its hidden agenda is a bit liberal, but I can decipher things out and get what I want from the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Patty | 2/13/2014

    " I did not realize this was offshoot from a Ken Burns mini-series. Stunningly beautiful images of some of the most amazing places here in America, and a great history of our relationship with the land. I would have like to have seen more on the controversy over Mount Rushmore, but overall, I truly enjoyed this book. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christopher | 2/10/2014

    " This is an excellent book on our National Parks. Not only does it expound the natural beauties of America, it is also a history of both the national park system and, indirectly, American conservation, which is deeply rooted in our citizens' awe with the land they saw when they expanded westward. Nearly all the the well-known (i.e. John Muir) and lesser-known figures (i.e. Lancelot Jones) in the history of our nation's parks make an appearance. And, like all of Ken Burns' works, it is imbued with a beauty and poetry that reflects a simple question back on the reader: "What does it mean to be an American?" I challenge anyone to read this book and not have an urge to get up and immediately see their closest national park, monument, or forest. The pictures and paintings selected from nearly every national park and monument adds a sense of gravitas to the idea of what it is the national parks protect. Ultimately, this is a must-read for every American as much as the PBS documentary is essential viewing for every American. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Arun | 1/25/2014

    " The story of the National Parks is one of the greatest successes of the U.S. federal government and inspired people like President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It's good to see we value setting aside land in order to enjoy it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jeremy | 1/18/2014

    " Great photos! The history was interesting, but the photos is what made it really worth reading. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Denise | 1/12/2014

    " This was a good book to be listening to while cooking for July 4. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Freyja | 1/12/2014

    " The pictures were breathtaking. The history and narrative were detailed and informative. But I just never did really get into it. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Charisse | 1/3/2014

    " Wonderful!!! I'll be buying this book for Sam's 4th grade teacher who is retiring this year. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Abbie | 12/30/2013

    " LOVED this book. It's a bit hard to read a coffee-table book but this one was amazing. Such an incredible history and so full of amazing stories. I would recommend to anyone. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Scott Taylor | 11/30/2013

    " Fairly unremarkable collection of stories about the founding of our National Parks and the people who guided both the agency and the expansion of the park system. Probably better to just watch the documentary. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alberta | 11/2/2013

    " A very interesting history of the National Parks in America. The sad part is that this history is steeped in politics, and the amazing part is so much land has been saved due to the people with foresight. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Paul | 8/6/2013

    " Very interesting history of the parks with wonderful pictures. I can't wait to see the TV series. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Connie | 11/22/2012

    " Wonderful history and pictures of all of the national parks. Makes you want to add all of them to the bucket list. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Tracy | 10/1/2012

    " I have read a lot of this book. I have put it down to read other things for now...but felt this was definitely an interesting read!! "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Timothy Esposito | 9/14/2012

    " Excellent book. Makes me want to go to a national park. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Julie Barrett | 3/22/2012

    " have visited many, can't wait to see more of them in our travels "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Randy Miller | 11/7/2011

    " An excellent account of the development of our national parks - the personalities involved, political battles, and natural features all expertly researched and presented. A highlight is the large collection of historical photographs. Possibly the best book ever written. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Mary-Ellen | 5/19/2011

    " Breath of fresh air, literally! "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Scott | 4/10/2011

    " Fairly unremarkable collection of stories about the founding of our National Parks and the people who guided both the agency and the expansion of the park system. Probably better to just watch the documentary. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Timothy | 11/30/2010

    " Excellent book. Makes me want to go to a national park. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 H.s. | 10/30/2010

    " Wow, fascinating. Interesting to see just how much opposition the national parks has had through the years! Also interesting to see just how few people ended up creating the national parks! And now over 100 countries around the world have "national parks". We started it! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Alberta | 9/7/2010

    " A very interesting history of the National Parks in America. The sad part is that this history is steeped in politics, and the amazing part is so much land has been saved due to the people with foresight. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Christopher | 8/15/2010

    " Loved it. Amazing personal histories and unbelievable struggles to bring us the national parks. I didn't realize how much opposition each park had to overcome, and the huge influence that individual crusaders exerted. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Jennifer | 6/24/2010

    " Beautiful book, but I am enjoying the series on PBS way more. I would give the 6 DVD set 5+ stars, but then again I am a National Park junkie...I even have a National Park passport so I can get stamps of each park visited. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Mike | 5/11/2010

    " A very unique view of American politics and history from the perspective of the national parks. It's extremely well done and interesting, but don't expect a geology or ecology lesson from this book - it's primarily historical. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Audrey | 5/9/2010

    " Beautiful pictures and great story--amazing places and people. "

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