History Lovers! This book club is for you! Each season we select a book for our first meeting to read together that covers a theme or time period of history.
For January, we will be reading Saving Yellowstone: Exploration and Preservation in Reconstruction America by Meghan Kate Nelson. Just stop by the Reference Desk to register and pick up a copy.
For February, we will read from a list of books about National Parks, Reconstruction, and Western Exploration. For that discussion, we will meet on Monday, February 26 a 7 pm on Zoom.
About Saving Yellowstone:
Each year nearly four million people visit Yellowstone National Park—one of the most popular of all national parks—but few know the fascinating and complex historical context in which it was established. In late July 1871, the geologist-explorer Ferdinand Hayden led a team of scientists through a narrow canyon into Yellowstone Basin, entering one of the last unmapped places in the country. The survey’s discoveries led to the passage of the Yellowstone Act in 1872, which created the first national park in the world.
Now, author Megan Kate Nelson examines the larger context of this American moment, illuminating Hayden’s survey as a national project meant to give Americans a sense of achievement and unity in the wake of a destructive civil war. Saving Yellowstone follows Hayden and two other protagonists in pursuit of their own agendas: Sitting Bull, a Lakota leader who asserted his peoples’ claim to their homelands, and financier Jay Cooke, who wanted to secure his national reputation by building the Northern Pacific Railroad through the Great Northwest. Hayden, Cooke, and Sitting Bull staked their claims to Yellowstone at a critical moment in Reconstruction, when the Ulysses S. Grant Administration and the 42nd Congress were testing the reach and the purpose of federal power across the nation.