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Paperback Letters from Yellowstone Book

ISBN: 0140291814

ISBN13: 9780140291810

Letters from Yellowstone

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Format: Paperback

Condition: Good

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Book Overview

For readers of Larry McMurtry's Lonesome Dove , Elizabeth Gilbert ' s The Signature of All Things , and Hope Jahren's Lab Girl , Diane Smith's warmhearted and award-winning epistolary novel about a spunky young woman who joins a makeshift field study in Yellowstone National Park at the end of the nineteenth century "I loved this book in a way that I haven't loved a book in some time." --James Welch, author of Fools Crow In the spring of 1898, A. E...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Many different messages

In an era where emails may be the main form of written communication between friends & family, it's worth a look back at what might have been sent through the penny post when telephones weren't around. Can you imagine recieving a 5 page letter from a friend, weekly? And how would you feel when a week went by with no news from that friend? What would you like to hear about from that friend? What would you write?Not only is this an exploration in letter-writing, (heck, that's very minor, just a means to the end), this book has several very interesting stories. As far as I could tell, it was historically accurate -I had to check to confirm it was fiction. I enjoyed the play of characters, and how you occassionally saw the same action from different points of view from different people's letters - especially the 4th of July party. Also liked the argument over exact terminology - and how it was won. Highly recommend this book to anyone who likes a little humor with their character development, and is willing to read between the lines.

Insightful read about Yellowstone and society in late 1800's

I purchased this book to take with me on my first trip to Yellowstone National Park recently. It was a perfect book to take along! What struck me most was that it was set at the end of the 19th century which seemed to be a great time of change. It was interesting to be in the park myself about 100 years later and feel how much had changed, yet how much had stayed the same especially in regard to people and our need and concern to protect our National Parks and environment. The book deals more with the human element and some of the plant life but not much with the animal or geologic wonders of the park, but it was highly enjoyable and definately added another element of appreciation to my experience. I only wish the story had continued as I became very attached to the characters in her book.

Comments on the subtle interplay between competing goals.

This is a beautifully written book that not only transports the reader to Yellowstone before the onslaught of the current throngs, but also presents the interplay of competing priorities for how this grand natural resource will be managed and used. A must read for those who crave a good story well told, for academics who would appreciate a tongue-in-check look at their world, and for people who wrestle with blending the scientific and humanistic approaches to a problem.

If you can't get to Montana this summer, read this instead.

I recently have had the great pleasure of reading Diane Smith's Letters From Yellowstone, and would recommend it without reservation to a wide variety of readers. While I am not normally a fan of epistolary novels, the characters in this work are so compelling the novel is difficult to put aside. This novel should appeal to environmentalists, feminists, naturalists, and other ists who prefer to remain unlabeled, such as I. It is ostensibly the story of a group of 1898 scientists on an expedition of discovery to catalog the flora and fauna of Yellowstone Park before tourists, the railroad, local entrepreneurs, and poachers destroy it. I say ostensibly, because the expedition is one of self-discovery as much as scientific cataloguing. None of the principals is unchanged by the experience. Additionally, Smith uses this forum to introduce readers to a number of late twentieth century concerns: wildlife management, commercialization of public lands, role of women in sciences. The author's treatment of these topics is not heavy handed, and her careful research shows these concerns are universal, not just limited to a single era. The novel's primary characters eventually find themselves debating the validity of science in comparison to other systems of knowledge and belief, and their conclusions are rather enlightening to those of who might think we have our position in life all figured out. Unlike numerous other authors who have attempted to express the dialectic of science versus belief, Smith succeeds. She is neither dry, nor pedantic in her characters' discussions. All this is accomplished against the sublime background of the Northern Rockies. The action of the novel moves at the pace of a northern summer: days seem to last forever, but the summer season lasts scarcely more than two months. Despite delays and reverses in fortune, the party moves along with an inexorable drive brought on by the knowledge of the fleeting field season. While not an adventure, this book is nevertheless a page turner. Read Letters From Yellowstone while the summer is still here. You won't regret it.

Delightfully engrossing historical novel

Ms. Smith takes us to Yellowstone at the turn of the century where we spend a summer with an unlikely cadre of disparate personalities. Through their correspondence to the outside world, we are treated to their often contradictary perspectives. Essentially the story of a young female botanist, the book richly portrays the majesty of Yellowstone as well as the complex internal conflicts of it's explorers. Neither a light-hearted romp nor a heavy-handed effort, "Letters" is a subtle and satisfying portrait of their often turbulent experience...and the profound changes brought about by their inter-relationships and by the unique power of the park itself. Really good stuff!!
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