This book is absolutely fascinating as it examines real life examples of human tragedy through accidents, stupidity, and violence. However, it is not a light read and many will find it too disturbing. I loaned it to one person who said he only read a few pages before he realized he could not read further. It is disturbing, though I found myself drawn into the dangers of this beautiful part of the world. The book also goes into the history of the park, as well as the reasons more 'safety barriers' are not forced into this still wild world. Although I highly recommend it, I'd be careful about to whom I'd recommend it as well as with the warning it full of real life 'tragedies' which can not be watered down in their graphic nature.
Bill H. (hardecker) reviewed Death in Yellowstone : Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park on
Helpful Score: 1
I have read this book several times. This book categorizes the deaths in Yellowstone in two categories: by nature and by man. I really enjoyed reading about them because I think the book serves an important purpose (especially the section on death by nature) - to respect the park and be cautious when in it. This book serves as a great warning to the many visitors who frequent the park throughout the year. It should give visitors a healthy fear & respect of the elements of nature & of the animals in the park. I couldn't help noticing how Mr. Whittlesey kept emphasizing that Yellowstone is a wild-life environment not Disneyland. I have been to Yellowstone several times; it is my favorite national park. There are so many beautiful sights to behold and so many wild animals to see. Unfortunately, many visitors in the park act like they are there to "pet" the bears or "feed" the animals or try to get as close as possible to the animals. They are WILD and there is a reason they are wild!! It also warns the reader to be watchful while in the park and to be cautious where you step! Death by thermal pools & hot springs show us why. The respect for nature and animals must be seen as it is . . . this is nature . . . not a theme park. These are bears, bison, elk, etc. . . not dogs, cats, or birds! Sadly, if many of the victims would have respected the park for what it actually is (RAW nature), the majority of the accidents probably could have been prevented.
After awhile, the book does get somewhat tedious to read but this is understandable since it was written to record ALL deaths in the park (including if 20 people died the same way). It is extremely informative. I do wish a more recent book would come out since this book is fairly old now. I did think some of the details were somewhat gory and macabre, but nonetheless, it shows what happens when men are careless or infringe on wild nature without thought of consequences. It also shows that nature is WILD and quite unpredictable (since some of the deaths in the book weren't carelessness or stupidity on the part of the person).
While at times the list nature of the names of the dead were tedious, overall the book was an interesting tell of the foolishness of man in the great outdoors. It seems if there is a way for man to die he has accomplished it in Yellowstone.
A truly enlightening book. Visited Yellowstone in 2009 & going back again in 2010. Fell in love & hope heaven is as beautiful. You gotta read this & then just go there. Had to stop and let buffalo, deer & cayotes cross the road. Boiling mud pots & gysers amazing.