Randall K. Wilson


A Place Called Yellowstone

The Epic History of the World’s First National Park

This epic history of America’s first national park explores how a remote Western landscape became an iconic symbol of our country and its vast wilderness so influential to our understanding of the natural world

It has been called Wonderland, America’s Serengeti, the crown jewel of the National Park System, and America’s best idea. But how did this faraway landscape evolve into one of the most recognizable places in the world? As the birthplace of the national park system, Yellowstone witnessed the first-ever attempt to protect wildlife, to restore endangered species, and to develop a new industry centered on nature tourism.

Yellowstone remains a national icon, one of the few entities capable of bridging ideological divides in the United States. Yet the park’s history is also filled with episodes of conflict and exclusion, setting precedents for Native American land dispossession, land rights disputes, and prolonged tensions between commercialism and environmental conservation. Yellowstone’s legacies are both celebratory and problematic. A Place Called Yellowstone tells the comprehensive story of Yellowstone as the story of the nation itself.