I looked up this book on Amazon expecting to see dozens of reviews, since this book deserves to be well reviewed. I picked this book up for some pleasure reading on our Summer trip to Yosemite. I have been to Yosemite dozens of times, and felt I had a deep appreciation for its beauty and history. I soon realized that I knew nothing.
Kenneth Brower does a masterful job weaving multiple ways to experience Yosemite together. Although, as another reviewer pointed out, the photographs are spectacular, it is the text of the book that is the gem. Brower starts the book with his own experiences, beginning at age two, of getting lost in Yosemite Valley and wandering by himself for a few hours by himself. He then takes the reader back to the Park's origins 25 million years ago, and verbally describes the processes that carved the granite, left the boulders, and produced the Falls that make Yosemite a national treasure. I guarantee that his history will change the way you experience Yosemite.
Brower next recounts the human history in the Park, from its settling by the Yokuts, to its "discovery" in 1851 by Bunnell. I was amazed to learn that within three years of its "discovery" it was already on its way to being a National Park. Bower weaves this historical narrative with his own personal experiences in hiking the trails and canyons of Yosemite with Jim Snyder. The result is an amazing literary feast of important facts and personal insights.
Bower's book on Yosemite will impress you deeply with its history and beauty. This is a rare book -- one that impresses you visually while simultaneously impressing you with its words. It will change the way you see and experience this greatest of our National Parks.