The Great Centennial
by Les MacLean

"This glowing-robed king, emperor of the mountains, walked in a lordly gait, and seemed to float across rock slabs, scree, and grassy slopes."

On August 25, 1916, the National Park Service was founded. This photo journey through the treasured parks of our nation is a celebration of over 100 years of maintaining, protecting, and honoring national parks. Inside this thin book, one discovers the wilderness of these parks through the eyes of the author/photographer thanks to photographs, songs, experiences, and a bit of history.

Author MacLean documents his experience with various national parks like Yellowstone, Shenandoah, and many others. Although this is largely a photo book, full of pictures of wildlife, flora, and breathtaking views of mountains and nature, the photographs are not always in focus. However, they serve to express the passion that the author feels for his subject matter. This passion and admiration radiate from the pages and combined are perhaps more beautiful than the photographs. These are clearly felt whether he's recounting the history of the Teddy Roosevelt National Park or sharing the story of his encounter with a grizzly bear in the wild.

The book teaches a bit about the past of the National Park Service, several parks, and shares some interesting information about the animals that make the parks their home. Most of all, though, the photo journey reminds us to appreciate the national parks—and, in fact, all parks—as places to be protected and treasured. The book ends with a plea to keep our nation's wild spaces wild, pristine, and free of the tendrils of politics. Once you finish leafing through it, you might also want to dig out your camera and head out on a nature exploration adventure of your own.

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