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Death in Yellowstone: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park

Death in Yellowstone: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park


Death in Yellowstone: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park

valutazioni:
4/5 (17 valutazioni)
Lunghezza:
13 ore
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Oct 31, 2016
ISBN:
9781515983460
Formato:
Audiolibro

Descrizione

The chilling tome that launched an entire genre of books about the often gruesome but always tragic ways people have died in our national parks, this updated edition of the classic includes calamities in Yellowstone from the past sixteen years, including the infamous grizzly bear attacks in the summer of 2011 as well as a fatal hot springs accident in 2000. In these accounts, written with sensitivity as cautionary tales about what to do and what not to do in one of our wildest national parks, Lee H. Whittlesey recounts deaths ranging from tragedy to folly-from being caught in a freak avalanche to the goring of a photographer who just got a little too close to a bison. Armchair travelers and park visitors alike will be fascinated by this important book detailing the dangers awaiting in our first national park.
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Oct 31, 2016
ISBN:
9781515983460
Formato:
Audiolibro


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Recensioni dei lettori

  • (4/5)
    Yellowstone historian Lee H. Whittlesey did a magnificent job of documenting deaths occurring in or near Yellowstone National Park. He spent hours pouring through newspaper accounts and locating testimony of persons who witnessed the accounts as well as reading official superintendent reports which often included accounts of such incidents. The "in Yellowstone" portion of the title is a bit misleading as some of the reported deaths took place outside the park or in gateway cities. Since I was listening to the book in audio format, I wish these portions had been omitted to make the book not quite so long and seemingly repetitive. I really think this is a book which probably works best in print or e-book format where one can "skim read" portions. Much of this book needs to be read by persons preparing to visit Yellowstone so they are aware of the dangers of not following guidance of rangers and park literature. The narrator, Stephen R. Thorne did a good job convincing the reader he was the author and witnessed much of the book although he pronounced a few names of Southern locations a bit strangely. I received the audio version of the book from the Tantor Media through LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program in exchange for a review. This review refers to a reading of the 2nd edition of the book.
  • (3/5)
    I received this audio book from the Early Reviewers program and, once again, I had not read the description of what I requested closely enough. I thought this was going to be a murder mystery set in Yellowstone, but instead, it is a chronicle of seemingly every death that has occurred in the park since it's inception.I will say three things about this book:1. It is not for the squeamish. The author graphically relates stories of people being boiled alive in thermal springs, being flayed and eaten by bears and being gored by bison. It came as a relief when people just started dying by falling trees.2. The stupidity of people apparently knows no bounds. The vast majority of the deaths related in the book could have been avoided if the victims ha just followed basic safety rules prominently displayed at the park.3. About two thirds through the book I just got bored at so much death and it just was not interesting (or shocking anymore)This is a good cautionary book for anyone venturing into America's National Parks, but the author would have better served the reader is he had eliminated some of the deaths he relates. We did not need to hear about every last one of them.
  • (4/5)
    Note: This is an audio book that I received as part of the Early Reviewers program.If I had to sum up this book in two words, those words would be "fascinating" and "long." The author has basically composed an encyclopedia of every known death in Yellowstone, dating back in some cases to the early-to-mid 1800s. Of the two large sections of the book--nature-caused deaths and human-caused deaths--deaths by nature was much more interesting to me. Overall though, many of the stories were downright fascinating. The only downside to the book was its sheer length--13 hours. I was not sure if I was ever going to get to the end!
  • (3/5)
    This is one of those books that was worth writing, even though it was not written so well. I listened to the audiobook, so didn't get a chance to check the writer's sources.The writer himself grew up near and worked in Yellowstone as a guide, eventually becoming a lawyer. He is therefore interested in the legal cases that came up in relation to various deaths. He dismisses snowmobile accidents and automobile accidents as too numerous and banal to discuss, grandly. However, other causes may have snowmobiles or automobiles involved. For example, some exposure deaths involved snowmobiles, and at least one car was backed over a cliff (that's a fall).The main point of the book might be that people can be incredibly stupid. Another point is that they will sue no matter how irresponsible and stupid they or the injured or killed persons were. A third point is that wilderness is wild and can kill you even if you are not stupid. Another point might be that wildness is valuable.This book organizes the deaths by category, hot springs, bison, bear, exposure, falling, drowning, murder, stagecoach accidents, etc. This results in a lack of context, as the book moves from one time period to another, and then back again, over and over again. Another flaw is that, while individual stories are mostly quite factually told, and sometimes rather repetitive in their uniformity, the author will occasionally speculate, usually suggesting that the person who was killed may have been "overconfident". This does little for me.Interesting, but not engrossing.
  • (3/5)
    I had the first edition on my wishlist for several years and was happy when I was awarded the second edition from the ER program. This book is covers the deaths, excluding car accidents and illness, that have occured in or very close to Yellowstone park since 1839. It is surprising the numbers of ways people have died, plane crashes, mauling by bears and bison, drowning, fights, freezing, lightening strikes, murders, boiling etc.The common theme through most of this book is listen to the warnings! Do not treat the wilderness as a trip through the back yard. People die because they climb over barriers to get closer to animals or to get that picture of a lifetime. They die because they want to see how hot the hot springs are. This book has a lot of info, some of it dry and some not. It is an interesting book but not one that you can read quickly.
  • (4/5)
    I was intrigued by the title and found the book fascinating.
  • (4/5)
    Wilderness by it's very nature is WILD. If you aren't cautious you just may end up in a follow-up to this book or another one like it. When you go to our National Parks you don't want it to be surrounded by fencing, no wild animals and no dangers of any sort. That would destroy the beauty of nature that you went there to find in the first place. Our National Parks are not zoos or city parks.This book recounts the tales of people who didn't watch what they were doing by either taking chances by jumping into hot pools, sailing on cold, windy lakes, getting too close to wildlife, or traveling without the proper outdoor precautions.I haven't had the opportunity to go see Yellowstone as of yet, but enjoyed the stories and accounts of the history of people that have lost their lives there or near there. Not that it is of any enjoyment for those that lost their loved ones, but at least they can know that their loved ones have served a purpose of being a cautionary tale to others so that they may possibly avoid their fate.I was given an audiobook version of this book by the publisher through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers Giveaway.
  • (5/5)
    Death in Yellowstone is both fascinating and cautionary. I've never been to the park but it's already drilled into me through fear to always hike in groups, carry bear spray and read every goddamn sign.
  • (4/5)
    For those with a streak of ghoulish glee and lovers of catastrophe literature, this is a catalog of the myriad ways people have met their end in the wonderful, but deadly, Yellowstone National Park. I say catalog because the repetition of people doing the same stupid things over and over again can be a bit tiresome, (do they never learn?) so it's best digested in small bites, sort of like some of the bears and their human meals. The list of ways to die in Yellowstone is pretty lengthy: falling, drowning, boiling, mauling, murder, suicide and general foolishness. Similar to Over the Edge, the litany of how people have died in the Grand Canyon, this does have a certain morbid appeal. That gravity thing can be killer. Please don't feed the bears.
  • (3/5)
    Death in Yellowstone is a very thorough researching of the many deaths that have occured in or near the park, from the 1800's to present. It's broken up into chapters by type of death (boiling in thermal pools, bear attack, falls, etc).I found the chapters to be somewhat uneven. Some of the chapters have lots of detail to describe the scene, people involved, and the event. Other chapters seemed to be a mere chronological listing; the book got kind of "dry" in parts.On the whole, I'm glad I read it. It's good preparation for our trip to Yellowstone next summer. The dog will be staying home!
  • (4/5)
    This historical overview of fatalities in the nation's first National Park can be rather grim reading at times. There are some truly gruesome cases contained in this volume. Of course, injuries and death can strike anywhere, anytime; however, it was rather appalling to read numerous accounts of people who died (primarily, it seems) as a result of their own lack of common sense. In addition, many of these cases resulted in litigious actions against the park; few prevailed. The stories range from death by scalding, falls, animal attacks and being struck by falling rocks or trees or lightning bolts. The book covers the period of 1839 through 2013. The author is a long-time employee of the park and was able to uncover a wealth of hitherto virtually unknown reference materials and has provided impressive Bibliography and Notes sections. One small complaint, I believe a couple of maps showing the park and the areas immediately around it would be a valuable addition.
  • (4/5)
    Author Lee Whittlesey lays out an account of all the known fatalities that have occurred in (or, sometimes, just outside of) Yellowstone National Park, from the mid-1800s up to the present. Included are deaths caused by wildlife, falls, boiling hot springs, drowning, falling rocks, lightning, murder, suicide, and a variety of other causes. (The only thing he leaves out are car and snowmobile accidents, which are numerous and about which there usually isn't very much to say.)By the time I got to the end, the relentless list of deaths was beginning to be a little bit much, an odd and slightly disturbing combination of the tedious and the morbid. But overall, I found the book bizarrely compelling. Some of the events chronicled here are little more than brief listings of what happened when to whom, but many of them are stories that are strange, gruesome, heartbreaking, or all three at once. And they're conveyed with a real sense of humanity; no matter what may have caused their deaths, Whittlesey never loses sight of the fact that these were all real people with real loved ones.And the point of it all isn't simply to appeal to readers' morbid curiosity. Whittlesey believes these are important pieces of Park history, and they are certainly interesting from that perspective. But, more than that, in the course of relating these events he touches on a lot of important issues involving the extent to which national parks have legal responsibilities to keep visitors safe, what park visitors need to do to protect themselves, the sometimes confused and naive ways in which people relate to the wilderness and its dangers, and the indisputable fact that no wild place can ever be completely safe and no safe place can ever be truly wild.Having read through this whole thing, I now have a heartfelt plea to make to anyone visiting Yellowstone, or any other national park or wilderness area: for the love of sanity, pay attention to the rules and recommendations. They honestly do exist for good reasons, and they do apply to you. Yes, you. Yes, even the one about keeping your dog on a leash. Especially the one about keeping your dog on a leash. (There is one awful, awful story in here that starts with a loose dog, which I will never be able to get out of my head.) And if you don't care enough about your own safety, at least spare a thought for the poor park rangers, because having to retrieve some poor idiot's mangled, gory corpse from a grizzly bear can surely ruin their entire day.
  • (4/5)
    "Wilderness is impersonal. It does not care whether you live or die. It does not care how much you love it." That is the salient point of Death in Yellowstone. The oldest of America's national parks and certainly one of the most spectacular. There are many ways to die in Yellowstone. Drowning, falling, animal attack, hot springs, murder, freezing and pretty much any other way you can think of. The point of the novel isn't to frighten though, but to educate. Be aware of your surroundings, follow the signs and stay on the paths. Above all remember, Yellowstone is alive. It is a wild place that will not hesitate to kill the complacent or the foolhardy.
  • (3/5)
    I have read Over the Edge: Death in the Grand Canyon, which chronicles deaths at Grand Canyon National Park, so I was interested to read about Yellowstone deaths. It starts out with a bang, telling the story of a man who died after jumping into a hot spring (you can't unread these stories, so I'll leave out the gory details). The book is broken up into all of the different kinds of death, with fourteen chapters on deaths by nature (falling off cliffs, avalanches, drowning, etc.) and eleven on deaths caused by people (murder, suicide, etc.).Lee Whittlesey certainly has done his research and seems to have left no death uninvestigated. My complaints are that he sacrifices giving a lot of detail on specific deaths for the sake of talking a little about a lot of deaths. Granted, he does go into details about certain incidents, but you can only read so many stories about a person parking, walking to the edge and falling before they start sounding all the same.One other quibble is that the author has a section about deaths due to earthquakes and mentions an earthquake that killed 28 people near Yellowstone, but he doesn't give any details. Instead he gives you a selection of books that talk about it. I don't understand why the section is there if it's only apparent purpose is to tell you to read other books for information. I'm reading THIS book for information on the people who died. At least a one paragraph explanation of the event would have been nice. As it is, it's just a useless one-page chapter.My suggestion for the next edition would be to cut out some of the superfluous stories and add more detail to the ones that are kept in.Overall, it is interesting and it accomplishes exactly what it sets out to do, but refining the prose and structure a little bit would make it even better.
  • (4/5)
    My husband and I enjoyed this book. We read on a vacation to Yellowstone. Notwithstanding the author's moralizing on the foolhardiness of others, it was engaging and well researched.
  • (4/5)
    Wilderness is impersonal. It does not care whether you live or die. It does not care how much you love it. So while we are loving the Yellowstone wilderness, while we play in it, indeed revel in it, taking it on its own terms and helping to protect it, we foolish mortals must always remember to respect it. For not only can it bite us, but, indeed, it can devour us.While reading this my first thought was he could have just subtitled it, "People are stupid". Indeed, most of the deaths in this book are the direct result of people being "foolhardy". There are a few genuine accidents and some deaths by others actions, negligent acts and even homicides. Lee Whittlesey covers them all. What is not included in this book are deaths from auto, motorcycle, or snowmobile wrecks or deaths from heart attacks or illness. The book is divided into two sections: Death by Nature which covers hot springs, wild animals, poisonous plants and gas, lightning, falling rocks and trees (although these could also be in next section), avalanche, freezing, cave-in, falls, smoke, earthquakes, and drowning. Part II is Death by Man which covers Indian battles, fights, horse and wagon and stagecoach incidents, accidental and deliberate shootings, murder, suicide, missing and presumed dead, gas stove explosions, structural fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, death on road (bus accidents) and airplane crashes (military and private planes). While this could have been a dry recitation of names and manor of death, Lee Whittlesey has provided a narrative with the deaths, how it happened and how he came by the information. He also gives a little bit of the history of his life and also why he wrote the book. This is actually the second edition, the first being published in 1995, and has more deaths. Some are older ones, the information sent to him by people who know about them. Some are deaths that occurred between 1995 and the publishing of this book.While this is not an exciting, page turning book, I found it to be very interesting and informative. It made me glad that my parents were of the mindset that when in Yellowstone National Park, you obeyed the rules the Rangers stated because, "The rules are there for a reason!", and we left Yellowstone the same way we came in, with our limbs and lives intact. I did try to get a bear to eat my sister, but as is brought out in this book, they are wild animals and uncooperative. The book ends with Whittlesey reinforcing the safety rules we should all follow because wilderness is after all wild and can devour us. A word of caution from me, while not gory, some of the descriptions of injuries in this book are graphic, for instance, he describes what happens to the human body when immersed in boiling hot water.
  • (4/5)
    "Death in Yellowstone" is not really about lurid encounters resulting in gory deaths. Rather, it is an extremely well researched and documented history of fatalities in the Park since it was created in 1872. "Death in Yellowstone" has 284 pages of text; a 7-page chronology; 3 appendices detailing grave sites and cemeteries; 52 pages of notes; a 15-page bibliography; and a 29-page index. This is a serious history that would interest readers of the work of Aubrey Haines, previous park historian and ranger. This is a revised second edition of the original published in 1995. Author Lee Whittlesey not only updated the accounts of deaths but discovered some early deaths that he had overlooked. The 25 chapters cover all facets of death. Whittlesey is the current Park historian who has spent 35 years studying the Yellowstone area and has authored more than 10 books and 25 articles on his research. Deaths caused by nature include thermal features; freezing; poisonous plants; falling rocks; earthquakes, and lightening. Deaths caused by humans include suicides; shootings; fights; and crashes involving cars, airplanes, horses, wagons and stagecoaches.
  • (5/5)
    Fascinating history. I appreciate the authors reflections on the wilderness and humans place in it. This book is not about making fun of people who lost their lives through carelessness and/or ignorance, but about the need to respect nature.
  • (3/5)
    Since the title of this book was “Death” in Yellowstone, I was expecting it to be an investigation into one death. Instead it was a compilation the detailed descriptions of all the different ways people have died in Yellowstone. Burning, mauling, goring, poisoning, freezing, drowning and shooting are just a few of the calamaties. The gory aspects of some of these accounts -- especially the burns from falls into the hot springs -- were too much for me. This book might have been more accurately titled “Deaths in Yellowstone” so as to warn the reader of its contents.I appreciate the organization of the book, the historical details and applaud the fantastic research that must have gone into it, but I am reminded of the Roberto Bolano book 2666 with its seemingly neverending accounts of murders. (“And the next victim was...”) Toward the end of Death in Yellowstone I found myself getting numbed by the multitude of painful details. I think there’s only so much of that the human psyche can take. Bolano used that as a creative and literary manipulation, but I don’t think it can work the same way in a book of non-fiction.
  • (5/5)
    "Death in Yellowstone" is not really about lurid encounters resulting in gory deaths. Rather, it is an extremely well researched and documented history of fatalities in the Park since it was created in 1872. "Death in Yellowstone" has 284 pages of text; a 7-page chronology; 3 appendices detailing grave sites and cemeteries; 52 pages of notes; a 15-page bibliography; and a 29-page index. This is a serious history that would interest readers of Aubrey Haines’, previous park historian and ranger. This is a revised second edition of the original published in 1995. Author Lee Whittlesey not only updated the accounts of deaths but discovered some early deaths that he had overlooked. The 25 chapters cover all facets of death. Whittlesey is the current Park historian who has spent 35 years studying the Yellowstone area and has authored more than 10 books and 25 articles on his research. Deaths caused by nature include thermal features; freezing; poisonous plants; falling rocks; earthquakes, and lightening. Deaths caused by humans include suicides; shootings; fights; and crashes involving cars, airplanes, horses, wagons and stagecoaches. Whittlesey has an underlying theme of balancing risk, liability and preservation of nature in the park. Families of victims have sued the Park and demanded additional safety measures, such as fencing each of 10,000 thermal features: geysers, mud pots, fumaroles and hot springs. This demand disregards the remoteness of the features or the fact that some are in prohibited areas. The litigation also disregards the culpability, recklessness and responsibility of the victim or the victim’s parents. Obviously, the Park has a responsibility to provide a degree of warning and protection for visitors. However, there is also an obligation of the Park to preserve the natural condition of the Park for visitors to experience and enjoy. Accordingly, visitors are responsible for heeding the warnings and alerts that the Park provides and using a reasonable degree of caution when touring the Park. An example of blatant disregard of this obligation is the risk undertaken by parents who place their young child on the back of a bison for a photograph. Bisons or buffalo are not big, dumb, fuzzy, harmless animals, but 2,000 pounds of unpredictable, sometimes belligerent, animals with lethal horns. In these cases, it is often impossible to protect people from their own foolishness.Note: this paperback has a sturdy, glossy cover and back and is well-printed on quality paper. In my view, these assets contribute to enjoyable reading.
  • (4/5)
    This was a fascinating book by an articulate, if untrained, writer. I couldn't put it down — although it was quite disturbing, since I was reading it while I was there!
  • (4/5)
    After having just visited Yellowstone National Park, along with a number of other parks as well, I was interested in the history of a lot of these places. Yellowstone, particularly, I felt would have a rich history since it was the first national park created. Of all possible books, this one just seemed really intriguing. It's certainly not the type of book that you want to read right before bed, that's for sure. It could potentially give you nightmares.

    Very interesting stories about the different ways that people have died while visiting Yellowstone National Park. Basically, the moral of the story is to follow the rules if you value your life. You don't want to fall into a geyser, get eaten by a bear, or fall down a canyon. Be smart and safe…not foolhardy.
  • (1/5)
    The subtitle states: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park. I’ve had this on my tbr for some time. In general, I like nonfiction about natural history and the great outdoors. I read Jack Olsen’s Night of the Grizzlies a few years ago and found it fascinating and compelling. I was expecting something akin to Olsen’s work with this book, and was sorely disappointed. Whittlesey give us a recitation of incidents in the park, and surrounding communities, divided into categories/chapters. The first two are fairly interesting despite the dry, factual delivery. Whittlesey begins with people who have been burned / scalded by falling – or diving (!) – into various hot springs. The second chapter is devoted to encounters with bears, primarily grizzlies. In each chapter, he relates the incidents in chronological order, beginning with vague reports of events in the last 1800s, for which we have minimal historical data or first-hand accounts. He includes chapters on poisonous plants, falls, runaway horses, Indian battles, suicide, car accidents, drowning, and avalanches among others. I appreciate the amount of work involved in gathering all this information, and Whittlesey obviously spent time trying to corroborate various accounts (frequently without success, though he noted his efforts). However, the delivery of this information is so dry and “just the facts, Ma’m” that I quickly grew bored.
  • (4/5)
    Death in Yellowstone: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park, by Lee H. WhittleseyI wish I had read this book before our family vacation in Montana. Though we had no problems during our visit to Yellowstone, I would have exercised even more caution. After reading this book, you know: mis-steps CAN happen.This book chronicles more than 300 deaths which have occurred at Yellowstone Park. Some stories are short; some only one-line, especially the older ones with little original documentation. Some stories are given more attention by the author, including some which involved the courts, in this way showing the reader that the end result is that the Park visitor takes his own life into his hands when entering Wilderness. The book is broken into two parts. Death by Nature covers death by hot springs, wild animals and plants, lightning, falling rocks and trees, forest fires, drowning, falls and such. The chapters in Death by Man cover fights, suicides, murders, Indian battles, road and air deaths, etc. (He does not include automobile or snowmobile deaths that would “probably add another couple of hundred”.) Appendices include a chronology of the deaths, information about the various cemeteries, and extensive notes on source documents. Each chapter chronicles the deaths involved in that fashion, ending with lessons to be gleaned.From the introduction: “Why would anyone write a book like this? The obvious answers are these: there are illuminating safety lessons to be learned, there is fascinating history in the stories, and there are legal ramifications for park managers. Certainly the stories are heartwrenching. But they teach us.”The author has done his job well, researching the events, compiling the stories in a thoughtful manner, and, with the knowledge coming from his past association with the Park, and his personal experience, drawing conclusions and offering safety rules pertinent to each category. (My rating: 4 stars.)I found most interesting the chapters about lightning (eerie history of lightning in sections of the park, at least 5 fatalities); the hot springs (at least 19 fatalities, over 100 injuries); and the water (more than 100 fatalities), including Yellowstone lake (at least 39 persons having drowned in just that one lake, with 17 unrecovered, leading to the rumor that “Yellowstone Lake never gives up its dead”). On Yellowstone Lake, the forces that combine to cause so many drownings are sudden, violent storms capsizing boats, and the frigid water (45 degrees) which swimmers inevitably succumb to.As the author concludes, “…while we are loving the Yellowstone wilderness, while we play in it, indeed revel in it, taking it on its own terms and helping to protect it, we foolish mortals must always remember to respect it. For not only can it bite us, but, indeed, it can devour us.” The tragedy which most unsettled me happened to a family whose children were the same age as some of ours were the summer that we visited Yellowstone, our youngest then being a very active 9 year old. This family was walking along the boardwalk viewing the hot pools, the parents walking in front, followed by their 9 year-old son, with their 15 year old daughter and her friend behind. The father heard him say, “I wonder if this water really is hot?”. The girls saw him turn and run toward the hot spring, and, with his arms over his head, he jumped in. “The last glimpse his mother had of him was seeing his rigid stark-white face, the mark of his pain and apprehension of death, sinking into the boiling water.”It haunts me yet.
  • (3/5)
    The most interesting parts of this book are the descriptions of death by bear and hot spring, and it is worth reading just for those chapters. The astonishing ignorance and arrogance of some humans in a threatening environment results in fascinating accounts of gruesome injury and death. The author's writing style is rather bland, and the organization within the individual chapters could be better, but it is an interesting review of the recorded deaths in Yellowstone and worth owning for the afficianado. The general reader should be encouraged to pick and choose the sections that are most interesting, rather than feel obligated to read the entire book.