Larry Perez's Reviews > Our True Nature - Finding a Zest for Life in the National Park System

Our True Nature - Finding a Zest for Life in the National Par... by Audrey Peterman
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Jan 30, 2013

it was amazing

Audrey Peterman is truly a woman obsessed. And the object of her unrelenting passion is laid bare in her new book Our True Nature. In the course of 200pages, Peterman shares an unbridled fascination with America’s national parks, taking readers on a journey through famed landscapes from Denali to the Florida Everglades. Along the way she also highlights many lesser-known locales like The Presidio, Castillo de San Marcos, and Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site. Part travel guide, part personal memoir, every page emotes Peterman’s particular brand of reverence for special places large and small.

Travel guides abound to furnish visitor information about national parks, as do chronicles from those privileged enough to have worked in them. But Our True Nature stands apart primarily because Peterman is—first and foremost—a fanatic. She waxes about national parks with the zeal and fervor of a teenage fan club president. Her infatuation comes partly from her experiences with wolves, bears, and horses while touring the parks. It comes partly from taking in the vastness of landscapes as iconic as the Grand Canyon and the Smoky Mountains. But her delight appears to come mostly from recognizing the layers upon layers of human history that have played out on every square acre of national park lands.

As Peterman makes clear, these places are more than mere museums of tree and stone—they are the stages upon which the complex human drama has unfolded. They are simultaneously places of overwhelming inspiration, devastating loss, hope, hurt, elation, trauma, and—most importantly—learning. Every national park is a repository of knowledge that ties America’s diverse cultures together, and Peterman deftly brings many of these connections to light. Our True Nature provides a potent vehicle to advance her long-standing dream of bringing Americans of all racial and ethnic backgrounds together to partake fully in their shared heritage.

Those who aspire to share her journey should be forewarned—Peterman’s ardor is infectious. Readers who find themselves exposed to the splendor of national parks through her eyes might just find themselves becoming… obsessed.
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