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Playing God in Yellowstone: The Destruction of America's First National Park

3.96  ·  Rating Details ·  139 Ratings  ·  15 Reviews
Chase asserts that Yellowstone is being destroyed by the very people assigned to protect it: the National Park Service. Named as one of “ten books that mattered” in the 1980s by Outside magazine and a book of continuing crucial relevance. Index; map.
Paperback, 480 pages
Published December 17th 1987 by Mariner Books (first published 1986)
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Jul 28, 2015 Russ rated it really liked it
Many of the ideas espoused by this book have long since been discredited. The author clearly has an axe to grind with the park service and many of his "facts" are not. You have to take this with a grain of salt.

There were enough fascinating chapters, vitriol aside, that kept me reading. I enjoyed insight into the beginnings of the environmental movement at its blatant attack of the Christian worldview. I enjoyed some of the stories woven throughout various parts of the book such as the recounti
Mar 05, 2016 stinaz rated it really liked it
Now 20 years old, I hope that it is no longer indicative of America's national parks. Many of these issues have become common knowledge and have definitely been addressed (predator removal being the most obvious).

I imagine at the time however it was a hard pill to swallow and caused quite the ruckus.

Particularly salient was how the issues facing Yellowstone parallel those in the broader environmental movement: politics vs science, the many perspectives and difficulty refining a single purpose, i
Sep 01, 2012 Ariana rated it it was ok
This book makes me not want to work for the Parks Service (a real possibility) and yet I very much wonder how much bias is there. The author's tone is relentlessly resentful of what he sees as an overblown bureaucracy. While some of the decisions the NPS made in Yellowstone are truly horrific, i.e. the actual extermination of wolves, mountain lions, and (indirectly) beavers from the Park, it begs the question of whether the small good done by having a park is outweighed by the evils of how it is ...more
Jul 23, 2013 Pam rated it liked it
Whenever we set aside an area as a National Park, we have already changed it. We can never preserve an ecosystem in its pristine condition because it does not exist in isolation from the (privately owned) lands around it. Let us also keep in mind that the Native Americans managed and transformed these lands for centuries before we got there.

We decided to preserve the "cute" species while nearly eliminating the "mean" species. We placed management of these parks into the hands of cops (rangers) r
Betsy Dion
Nov 03, 2012 Betsy Dion rated it liked it
Well, this book only got partially read, because I had to return it to the library. I think I read the first 9 chapters. It was pretty good, and showed how easy it is for "science" to get hijacked to serve other interests, like political and environmentally popular objectives. It was kind of dense and repetitive, though. I may try to finish it at some point in the future, but I think I got the general point of the book.
Mar 05, 2009 Kurt rated it liked it
I love Yellowstone. My parents took my family there numerous times while I grew up in Idaho, and I still go there as often as I am allowed. So, it was fun reading about my favorite natural place in this book. Unfortunately, it seems that many of the ideas presented in this book don't seem to be supported by science or observation. But fun reading nevertheless.
Aug 16, 2007 Rick rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: science teachers
More of a history book than a nature book, though I learned a lot about Native American forest-burns, elk-hunting, the relevance of trash to grizzlies, the importance of beavers and the historical ineptitude of the Park Service. The writing is mostly anecdotal and somewhat repetitive, so the last half of the book was quick read.
Jan 30, 2011 Melissa rated it really liked it
Fantastic book written by a left-learning environmentalist who discovered when man thinks they're protecting the environment they're actually harming it and some things should be left to...nature. The book can be hard to read at times, but for the most part eye-opening. And a wonderful guide too to Yellowstone!
John Rivera
Sep 19, 2008 John Rivera rated it really liked it
Very interesting book on a topic that probably recieves far too little attention. Excellent citations are abundant in this work for anyone interested in doing a critical analysis of the US Park Service. This book could use some updates though, the information is a little old and possibily out of date.
Ron Christiansen
Mar 23, 2011 Ron Christiansen rated it it was amazing
Radically shaped my view of wildlife management and the place of "man" in nature. It's been more than a decade since i read it but I still use several examples (what happened after humans started shipping the garbage out of Yellowstone) almost every semester I teach.
Aug 14, 2009 Christen rated it really liked it
I didn't quite have a chance to finish this book yet, but I really enjoyed what I read so far. A very interesting subject. I don't have the time to finish it now, but would like to in the near future.
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
I'm sure this is long outdated, but I remember it was once a very important assessment.
Mar 30, 2008 Kris rated it it was amazing
Great history book, a little one sided but a GREAT read. I highly recommend it.
Jan 26, 2012 B rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 10-must-reads
One of my 10 best reads of all time. Absolutely amazing.
May 02, 2009 Steve rated it really liked it
This book will make you angry with the Park Service.
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