Empire of Shadows: The Epic Story of Yellowstone

Empire of Shadows The Epic Story of Yellowstone Empire of Shadows is the epic story of the conquest of Yellowstone a landscape uninhabited inaccessible and shrouded in myth in the aftermath of the Civil War In a radical reinterpretation of the ni

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  • Title: Empire of Shadows: The Epic Story of Yellowstone
  • Author: George Black
  • ISBN: 9780312383190
  • Page: 292
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Empire of Shadows is the epic story of the conquest of Yellowstone, a landscape uninhabited, inaccessible and shrouded in myth in the aftermath of the Civil War In a radical reinterpretation of the nineteenth century West, George Black casts Yellowstone s creation as the culmination of three interwoven strands of history the passion for exploration, the violence of theEmpire of Shadows is the epic story of the conquest of Yellowstone, a landscape uninhabited, inaccessible and shrouded in myth in the aftermath of the Civil War In a radical reinterpretation of the nineteenth century West, George Black casts Yellowstone s creation as the culmination of three interwoven strands of history the passion for exploration, the violence of the Indian Wars and the civilizing of the frontier and charts its course through the lives of those who sought to lay bare its mysteries Lt Gustavus Cheyney Doane, a gifted but tormented cavalryman known as the man who invented Wonderland the ambitious former vigilante leader Nathaniel Langford scientist Ferdinand Hayden, who brought photographer William Henry Jackson and painter Thomas Moran to Yellowstone and Gen Phil Sheridan, Civil War hero and architect of the Indian Wars, who finally succeeded in having the new National Park placed under the protection of the US Cavalry George Black s Empire of Shadows is a groundbreaking historical account of the origins of America s majestic national landmark.

    One thought on “Empire of Shadows: The Epic Story of Yellowstone”

    1. The first three words of this book are "Nathaniel Pitt Langford . . ." -- who is a distant ancestor of mine. I was aware that he was one of the first white people to see the area now known as Yellowstone National Park. This book is a well-written, very engaging account of that exploration, and I learned a LOT. Accounts of the both deliberate and accidental massacres of tribal peoples are very upsetting but essential to know. The author provides fascinating quotes from many personal journals writ [...]

    2. This was a great pre-read before my actual visit to this best of all of our national parks. Author does a very thorough job of examining all the historical political and geographic challenges in preserving this still very wild place. There was a good deal about the Indian wars and shameful treatment during establishment of the region as well as details on all the many expeditions into this true wonderland prior to the park's creation.

    3. I'd actually give this 3.5 stars if I could. Meticulously researched, perhaps overkill in factme of the details, extraneous characters, and side-stories, while fascinating and fun to read, were not germane to the story of Yellowstone and often confused the narrative. Still a great post-Civil War frontier cowboys and Indians story, brutally violent in places but that's the factual history of the occupation of native American lands. Much more of a history (versus natural history) book.

    4. What a terrible beginning for a great park, the world's first national park. The first order of business was clearing out the Native Americans and creating the myth that Native Americans were too afraid of Yellowstone's thermal features to go there. The book starts well before the founding of Yellowstone to look at journeys to the west starting with Lewis and Clark. The author is very conscious of the oppression of Native Americans, but omits the fact that York, an African American who was Lewis [...]

    5. I have recently experienced backpacking through Yellowstone, entering the southern border after walking through the Wyoming's Wind River Range. I spent 5 nights camping there walking around Yellowstone Lake, eventually exiting at the original entrance above Mammoth Hot Springs near Gardiner, Montana. I witnessed first hand the grandeur and uniqueness of that passage, and brought back home just one book- this one. I made it a priority to set aside time each day to read it, with maps on the table, [...]

    6. Origin myths are very powerful in politics and nations. When we want to know who we are - as a collective and as an individual - we tell stories of how we came to be. Lately I see this in the so-called Tea Party and it's extolment of a rebellion against tyranny. Perhaps this is why I never feel at home with such a movement. For my political origin myth lies in Montana, my homelands, a land where proud but defeated Nez Perce, greedy Easterners, military officers fresh from the Civil War and conse [...]

    7. This recounts the events from 1805, when the first "white men" discovered some of Yellowstone's wonders, to the late 1870s, a few years after President Ulysses S. Grant designated the land as America's first national park. Much of the narrative focused on the troubles between various people groups in the region (trappers and traders, official explorers, Army soldiers, Indians, and Mormon pioneers), and a whole section dealt with the settling of small towns in Montana, just north of the current n [...]

    8. This was a well-researched and very entertaining book to read. The tale of the early explorers of the Yellowstone region came to life in Black's recounting of the events. I learned a lot about the park prior to its designation as the nation's first national park, and about the men who helped to shape its destiny. It was interesting to read about these explorer's experiences in places that I have visited, and picturing how much has changed, and how much the park has been 'tamed' in many ways. I w [...]

    9. Well researched and well written, with a lot of information on early trappers and mountain men like Jim Bridger as well as explorers like Ferdinand Hayden. These men and their stories are well known by devoted fans of the park, but I've never read about them in the detail offered here. Black also tells the stories of the various Native tribes in the area and their changing relationships with each other and the whites who came in ever greater numbers for the area's resources. If you're looking fo [...]

    10. It took me a few months to read this book. It was chock full of history about not only Yellowstone but the surrounding areas; the various tribes, the explorers, the military, the influx of trappers and miners that eventually lead to settlers and white civilization, and finally the actual exploration of the Yellowstone area and the establishment of our first national park.

    11. made it halfway through. couldn't finish. every chapter feels the same and it feels detached. not very engaging.

    12. Very interesting history of the exploration/subduing of the Yellowstone area and all the Indian tribes indigenous to it.

    13. Epic in scope, readable, and incredibly well researched, reassess Yellowstone's founding myths while not falling into presentism

    14. This is a wonderful book, but it requires a lot of interest in Yellowstone's early history, and patience. It is long, comprehensive, and is filled with references to the early explorers' diaries and folklore. I read the introduction, but did not fully incorporate the author's statement that his job, as an historian, is to revise history. I thought it was cute, but only after I was more than halfway through the book did it slowly dawn on me what he meant by his statement: his work was to interpre [...]

    15. I noticed this book on the new arrivals shelf at my library and decided to check it out. I'm so glad I did. This is a very readable and engaging history of Yellowstone, from the first peripheral contacts of Lewis and Clark to the creation of the national park. The author does a great job of immersing the reader in the world of these early explorers, describing the myriad of unusual personalities and how they contributed to exploring and preserving the region.There are a few cons. The author is n [...]

    16. There are many things about this book that I really enjoyed. First, Black does a good job of framing the creation of the first national park as part of a larger historical context. It becomes very clear that Yellowstone emerged as part of the Civil War, ongoing war with and exploitation of American Indian tribes, the construction of the railroads and other settlement of the surrounding territories. Black also clearly did his research. He puts in lots of interesting details about the many players [...]

    17. Really 3.5This purports to be the history of Yellowstone National Park. I guess it is, but. It glossed over a lot of details that I wanted to know. And yet, it's a pretty long book. There was a lot (a *LOT*) of background on Indian wars, and on various gold rushes in Montana. That's sort of relevant, I guess, but that's what I wanted to be glossed over. He spends a lot of time speculating/defending-against-accusations about whether some of the early attempts to publicize the wonders were in the [...]

    18. For a book this plodding it held my interest surprisingly well. Any work that devotes hundreds of pages to a handful of years needs to pack a lot of intrigue. This book does, in a way, but it's the same intrigue over and over; the history of Yellowstone is nothing if not a history of history repeating (incidents recurring, large egos fulfilling karmic repetition compulsions, cycles of peace and violence that resemble each other soberingly). Anyone with a conscience observes a thousand moments of [...]

    19. This was a fascinating look at the history surrounding the formation of Yellowstone as a national park. Black did a fine job of telling the narrative (though he was not always even-handed with the religious figures and issues he encountered - but these were relatively rare). American expansion across the continent, to and through Indian nations, is a dark and complex business. But it does make for an engaging tale. This was where the West was wildest. The names encountered is a veritable "Who's [...]

    20. While none of this was new material to me, it was enjoyable to be swept away to the West and one of my favorite places, Yellowstone. Many of the characters were familiar from my reading about fur trappers and traders, soldiers and the Indian Wars, the Oregon Trail, etc. I felt that perhaps too much of the perceptions of people and actions were viewed through current day eyes. Yes, the US government and army policies against the native people of the area were atrocious. But I don't think we can j [...]

    21. "Empire of Shadows" is the long and sometimes winding tale of how Yellowstone became the first National Park in the United States. Black's epic story is full of colorful characters that seem lifted from the late and great HBO series "Deadwood." What is most chilling about Black's tale, however, is that the past and present are identical: in both death and destruction result from the stupefying decisions made by politicians, in both greed and glory justify murder on a mass scale, and in both raci [...]

    22. Although interesting, in a way I feel like Yellowstone was really a bit player in this book. Most of the book was an account of military and civilian actions against Native American tribes, plus some background on a group of explorers who went into the Yellowstone region in 1870. Something I found frustrating was that my copy of this book --borrowed from my library -- only had a single, tiny map tucked into the inner flap of the book. I really wished this book had more maps to help put the narra [...]

    23. I was actually quite disappointed in this book. I thought it was going to be more than it was. The book focused on a very narrow range of time in the history of Yellowstone. It mostly focused on the Indian conflicts in the area and the early explorers that named the peaks and mapped the valleys. I expected it to go more into the natural history as well as the chronological history of Yellowstone. The book ended soon after the park was named. Not sure for how long I really wanted to read about th [...]

    24. An excellent and entertaining history of the larger-than-life men who helped establish the first National Park. This book doesn't cover the Park itself as much a it covers the men and the surrounding area of Yellowstone. Stories of wild mining towns like Virginia City, vigilante mobs, the massacres of Indian villages, underhanded politics, and inflated egos abound in this book and are written in an approachable and highly entertaining style. I would recommend this book to anyone looking to learn [...]

    25. I picked up this book on a recent trip to Yellowstone at the recommendation of a park ranger. The book is a detailed history of the Montana territory and the exploration/settlement of western Montana and the Yellowstone region. I truly enjoyed the portions devoted to the early explorations of Yellowstone. The bulk of the book, however, focuses on other aspects of frontier history, including our nation's shoddy treatment of the local Native American tribes. This lack of focus detracts from the na [...]

    26. This history takes the Yellowstone area up until its establishment of the park in the 1870s. It deals a lot with the genocide of the Native Americans who got in the way of Westward Expansion. But is also fascinating too read about the politics, military mistakes and extraordinary egos of those who staked out the area for white Americans. If you like history that is rich in detail, this is the book for you.

    27. Fantastic reading for any fan of the National Park system. Providing great detail on over 80 years of history in the Yellowstone area. Extolled the significance of such a discovery while not shying away from some of the grotesque actions taken against its natural indigenous populations. The book did end somewhat abruptly, glossing over Little Big Horn and its after effects (military occupation of the park), which is the only reason I did not give it the full 5 stars.

    28. I didn't read the whole thing but I enjoyed what I did read. I was looking for a book more about Yellowstone and less about the history of the American west, hence why I stopped. But for a book I just picked up off the shelf at the library, it was quite good. Good research, commitment to telling the full story, and it did make me more excited to visit Yellowstone. This book basically ends when it becomes a park, so know that if you think of reading it.

    29. There was lots of interesting history in this, but I was bored by tedious details. Was it really necessary to relate that on the second day of the expedition from Fort Ellis an unnamed soldier suffered a bout of food poisoning? Certainly, this event was in the diaries of the explorers, but did it need to be repeated in the epic story of Yellowstone? I started skimming and found some good stories in here, but it was hard to find them buried in the mundane. Could have been half as long.

    30. The history of Yellowstone is bloodier than I expected, including the work of my wife's great great uncle, Nathaniel Langford, a major character (explorer, rancher, vigilante, scientific officer on the Yellowstone expedition) in Yellowstone's emergence as a nationa; [ark. (The N. P. came to stand for "national park" in government circles. Black's book is wonderful.

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