Read Death in Yellowstone: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park by Lee H. Whittlesey Online


Intriguing stories of how people have died in Yellowstone warn about the many dangers that exist there and in wild areas in general....

Title : Death in Yellowstone: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park
Author :
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ISBN : 9781570980213
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 240 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Death in Yellowstone: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park Reviews

  • karen
    2018-10-08 20:41

    this book has a fantastic title. i love the word-choice of "foolhardiness", and i thought i would really enjoy reading a book about people doing stupid things and paying for them with their liiiiives. which i think makes me a bad person, but since a lot of these deaths take place in the 1800's, there is enough distance that it makes it less of a character flaw in me, and more of an abiding interest in historical circumstances. is what i am telling myself. but lee h. whittlesey is not gong to be stealing the crown of "king of narrative nonfiction" from erik larson anytime soon. this doesn't read like a book anyone would want to curl up with - it is more just a sort of social archive - a list of things that have happened within the park with no authorial voice or unifying thread. there are basically two points. one: nature is wild, and yellowstone is not disney. it is not and should not be retrofitted to play nice with the tourists. and two: don't be an idiot.this is a breakdown of the chapters, and ways people have died in yellowstone, in my own words:hot springsanimalspoisonous plantspoisonous gaslightningavalanches and freezingcave-insfalling rocksfalling treesfallsforest firesearthquakesdrowningindian battlesfightsdivinghorse,wagon,stagecoachshootingsmurderssuicidemissing/presumed deadgas stove explosions and structural firescarbon monoxide poisoningair/road accidentsso basically, it is another book that assures me that i should never ever leave my house. ever. i am not someone who is overmuch impressed with the majesty of nature. nor of the majesty of architecture, for that matter. when i find myself in distant lands, my first thought is, "where is the closest bookstore?" and "food!! gimmie exotic food!" so the thought of going to a place to just be inspired by nature's vast canvas - i can see how people would dig it, but i am not one of them. and while dying from many of the ways listed in the above chapters can be avoided by a sane person (yes, a photo of your toddler sitting astride a bear would be adorable, but usually you are just going to end up with a picture of the day your kid got torn to ribbons by your "foolhardiness") and (do not jump into a hot spring with a temperature of 202 degrees F to rescue your dog because your eyeballs will boil, your skin will slough off of you, your last words will be "that was a stupid thing i did," and your dog will still be dead), still there are many potential deaths over which you have no control. and why?? because people are idiots. you would think, wouldn't you, that being in all that open space would somehow be safer than living in a city where people push people off of subway platforms and mug people at knifepoint and get into scuffles on the sidewalk because people weren't meant to live that close together, but you would be wrong. people will find a way to be idiots no matter where they are, and these two situations are illustrative of that:In two such other cases, deaths can be attributed to persons on the rim of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone purposefully throwing or accidentally dislodging rocks that fell onto persons below.andIn the near-darkness at Eagle Creek campground, just north of Gardiner, the two saw a yellow tent belonging to Shannon Weatherly, 28, and a male friend. Schultz and Keys said later they thought the tent was a bear, and Schultz fired into it. His bullet struck Shannon in the head, killing her instantly and terrifying her you could be doing all the right things - camping where you are supposed to be, enjoying a nature hike with your water bottles and granola treats and BLAMMO! some stupid kid throws a rock from way up above you and your head is caved in and bleeding into your thermal shirt. or you could be sleeping off your long day of respectful nature-observing and BLAMMO!! someone thinks your TENT is a BEAR. which i guess means it should be shot? people are stupid. how we managed to evolve enough to build airplanes and bridges is beyond me. your risk of dying in an indian battle or stagecoach accident are, admittedly, slim, but lightning, falling trees, earthquakes… you can't prevent this shit from happening. but some of them. some of them, you can prevent as long as you are not a fool. like eating plants in yellowstone. seriously, why?? why??like water hemlock. do not eat this.Six children found the plant growing along a stream and ate "greedily" of it, thinking it a parsnip. but i guess it's hard, because what kid doesn't go just crazy for parsnips, right?My own rules for eating plants in Yellowstone are threefold: never eat wild mushrooms, never eat plants that resemble wild carrots or parsnips, and more generally, never eat any plant unless you are positive of what it is by virtue of specific own rules are way more simple: pack twinkies.oh, and don't be terrible at being a boy scout:The scouts of troop 63 stopped at the outlet of the lake in order that leaders Layne Reynolds and John Bishoff could locate their assigned campsite. Imprudently, the party had not brought a map along, but they nevertheless decided that their camp lay directly across Shoshone Lake, probably an hour's paddling.what boy scout troop doesn't bring a map?? seriously - that's just "be prepared 101."and while this book was mostly very dry and plodding, there were occasional refreshing bursts of awesome, which is my word for "ewwww!"Mr. D.E. MacKay, a sixtyish gentleman from New York, jumped from the careening vehicle at the first hint of danger. Unfortunately for him, he landed hard with his feet far apart, and the force drove the bones of his legs up into his body and lacerated his bladder. Then the caroming coach fell foursquare upon him. he is later described as having been telescoped against the rocks.awesome. (ew)and i will just leave you with this - further proof that ladies with little dogs are usually the worst at taking responsibility for anything and although this makes me sad in my doggy-love parts, i still think the doggy ended up in a better place than being owned by this nightmare of a human:"May I release my dog from his leash?" she asked. "No, ma'am," said the ranger deferentially. "It's strictly against the rules.""There seem to be rules against everything one wants to do in this park," she said with a petulant frown. "Now what possible reason can there be for not allowing my dog a little freedom? Poor Von has been tied up all day!"The ranger's strict training kept him from saying what he wanted to, but his face reddened at her tone. He began, "Lady, there are bears around here that might…"She did not give him a chance to finish the sentence. "Oh, if that's all that worries you, Von won't hurt the bears!"She reached for the snap on the dog's collar and unleashed him before the startled ranger could utter another word of protest.The dog headed straight for an old black bear mother sitting at the edge of the forest some fifty years away, her two cubs above her in a tree, lying on two large limbs. The old bear sat there calmly, her front legs braced in front of her, not seeming to notice the dog that dashed madly toward her. She even inclined her head slightly the other way as if to show just how little this canine creature interested her.The pup charged right up to the bear, fully expecting her to run. She sat motionless and he slowed for a quick turn to keep from running into her. At exactly that instant the old bear went into action. Quicker than a cat she struck out at him and with one blow of her paw sent him spinning with a broken back. Then she called her cubs down and hurried into the woods.It happened so quickly that not one of the spectators moved for a few seconds. Then everyone rushed to the side of the dying dog, his owner protesting tearfully, "Why didn't you tell me? I can't understand why such terrible beasts are allowed to run at large. Why aren't they put in cages where they can do no harm?"ugh. hate her.special thanks to brian for sending me this book/knowing what a sicko i am, and reinforcing my resolve to never go anywhere. ever.ever.

  • Archer
    2018-10-06 22:38

    A man from Brussels falls into a thermal pool and dies after his legs are boiled, later the small spring is renamed Belgian pool. A young man from Alabama camps illegally and is eaten by a bear. This a chronicling of "accidents and foolhardiness", with the emphasis put by the author on foolhardiness. It's definitely morbid and the attitude towards the "fools" can be a bit disturbing, but there are some riveting stories here, and they are described in a refreshingly matter-of-fact way. You don't have to embellish too much when your subject matter is people being gored by bison or falling 800 feet to their death. A side note: I bought this book as a calloused youth on a trip to Yellowstone in my early teens. A larger, louder, and rowdier boy had run past me on the boardwalk while I was walking along with my parents. I was jealous and a bit spiteful towards the reckless freedom of this other kid. Later on we saw him once again, but this time he was sitting on the side of the boardwalk, crying and clutching his bare feet, which were bright red. "Fool" I thought, and I bought this book.

  • Ericka
    2018-10-02 23:52

    The book may appear daunting, but only about 3/4 of it are stories. The last quarter is dedicated to end notes and more information about the cemeteries of Yellowstone.Do not read this book BEFORE or DURING your stay at Yellowstone. I read the book right after I left the park's borders and it left me with the willies for a long time. It is definitely not for those who can't stomach disgusting and grotesque things. For example, they describe in detail what happens to a person's body post-geyser accident. Another chapter talked about bear attacks and people being eaten alive.I found the chapter on geysers and animal attacks to be the best part of the book. It will be interesting to see if I can bring myself to check out Old Faithful ever again. By the time you're done with this you might be lucky if chipmunks don't send you into a panic. This book proves that anything that can go wrong will and that you should never doubt in the depths of people's stupidity.

  • June
    2018-09-25 21:43

    Did you know that if you fall (or jump) into one of Yellowstone's boiling geothermal pools, you will not only die a slow, painful death, but your eyes will turn completely white---just like a boiled fish. Yep. It's in the book. Oh--and Grizzly bears like to slash through your tent and pull you out while you are sleeping. Thought you were safe because you hung your food up? Nope.

  • Book Concierge
    2018-10-15 23:04

    The subtitle states: Accidents and Foolhardiness in the First National Park. I’ve had this on my tbr for some time. In general, I like nonfiction about natural history and the great outdoors. I read Jack Olsen’s Night of the Grizzlies a few years ago and found it fascinating and compelling. I was expecting something akin to Olsen’s work with this book, and was sorely disappointed. Whittlesey give us a recitation of incidents in the park, and surrounding communities, divided into categories/chapters. The first two are fairly interesting despite the dry, factual delivery. Whittlesey begins with people who have been burned / scalded by falling – or diving (!) – into various hot springs. The second chapter is devoted to encounters with bears, primarily grizzlies. In each chapter, he relates the incidents in chronological order, beginning with vague reports of events in the late 1800s, for which we have minimal historical data or first-hand accounts. He includes chapters on poisonous plants, falls, runaway horses, Indian battles, suicide, car accidents, drowning, and avalanches among others. I appreciate the amount of work involved in gathering all this information, and Whittlesey obviously spent time trying to corroborate various accounts (frequently without success, though he noted his efforts). However, the delivery of this information is so dry and “just the facts, Ma’m” that I quickly grew bored.

  • Sesana
    2018-10-18 19:40

    I got this book from my local library, but I understand that it's also sold at Yellowstone itself. This is probably a public service. But the sad truth is that the people who really need to see it, who think that the boardwalks around hot geysers are just suggestions, that the bears must be tame and look so terribly hungry, or that it would be fun to swim just above the falls are exactly the people who won't read and absorb the lessons of this book. For a book about horrible ways that people can die, it's remarkably free from sensationalism. The author used to work at Yellowstone, so he understands what the park is really like and a little of why people do the ill-advised things that can kill them. And the sad fact is that most of the deaths in this book, even the ones by natural causes, could have been avoided entirely. Certainly creepy, and if I ever do get out to Yellowstone it'll probably leave me slightly freaked out.

  • Lady♥Belleza★✰
    2018-10-15 03:08

    Wilderness is impersonal. It does not care whether you live or die. It does not care how much you love it. So while we are loving the Yellowstone wilderness, while we play in it, indeed revel in it, taking it on its own terms and helping to protect it, we foolish mortals must always remember to respect it. For not only can it bite us, but, indeed, it can devour us.While reading this my first thought was he could have just subtitled it, "People are stupid". Indeed, most of the deaths in this book are the direct result of people being "foolhardy". There are a few genuine accidents and some deaths by others actions, negligent acts and even homicides. Lee Whittlesey covers them all. What is not included in this book are deaths from auto, motorcycle, or snowmobile wrecks or deaths from heart attacks or illness. The book is divided into two sections: Death by Nature which covers hot springs, wild animals, poisonous plants and gas, lightning, falling rocks and trees (although these could also be in next section), avalanche, freezing, cave-in, falls, smoke, earthquakes, and drowning. Part II is Death by Man which covers Indian battles, fights, horse and wagon and stagecoach incidents, accidental and deliberate shootings, murder, suicide, missing and presumed dead, gas stove explosions, structural fires, carbon monoxide poisoning, death on road (bus accidents) and airplane crashes (military and private planes). While this could have been a dry recitation of names and manor of death, Lee Whittlesey has provided a narrative with the deaths, how it happened and how he came by the information. He also gives a little bit of the history of his life and also why he wrote the book. This is actually the second edition, the first being published in 1995, and has more deaths. Some are older ones, the information sent to him by people who know about them. Some are deaths that occurred between 1995 and the publishing of this book.While this is not an exciting, page turning book, I found it to be very interesting and informative. It made me glad that my parents were of the mindset that when in Yellowstone National Park, you obeyed the rules the Rangers stated because, "The rules are there for a reason!", and we left Yellowstone the same way we came in, with our limbs and lives intact. I did try to get a bear to eat my sister, but as is brought out in this book, they are wild animals and uncooperative. The book ends with Whittlesey reinforcing the safety rules we should all follow because wilderness is after all wild and can devour us. A word of caution from me, while not gory, some of the descriptions of injuries in this book are graphic, for instance, he describes what happens to the human body when immersed in boiling hot water.

  • Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
    2018-09-27 03:56

    The main idea of this book is: respect the wilderness! Whittlesey has done a very thorough job of chronicling every death that has occurred in or near Yellowstone National Park. Chapters are arranged by means of death. What strikes me repeatedly is that people simply ignore or fail to understand warning signs and rules-- they're there for a reason, and restrictions and rules are there for a reason as well. The animals in the park are NOT part of a zoo or petting zoo-- they're wild and potentially dangerous. I can't believe people have been seen putting their kids up on the backs of bears and bison to take their pictures! This was an interesting book and should be read by anyone considering a trip to the western wilderness.

  • C-shaw
    2018-10-06 23:43

    Perverse as it may be, I love to read disaster books of all sorts: mountain-climbing terrors, shipwrecks, etc., and I am especially enamoured of bear attack stories. This book is so interesting to me, even as I cringe while reading it. I hope my interest is in part a desire to avoid such horrors, rather than just for the prurient thrills!* * * * *Well, my interest faded after reading pages and pages of minor details about people who died over a hundred years ago. The part about the hot springs deaths (boiled people and dogs!) and the bear attacks (chewed humans!) were horrific but interesting.

  • Granny
    2018-10-19 01:47

    I am not, by nature, ghoulish (oh, maybe just a tad), but this book is really good bathtub reading. The "foolhardiness" aspect of the title was what intrigued me. I had no idea how many visitors to Yellowstone should be eligible for The Darwin Awards. This is "truth stranger than fiction" reading at its best.

  • Joyce
    2018-10-03 20:52

    Honestly, what could I have been thinking? Perhaps this would be true crime? But no, it is, literally, a chronicle of deaths of every kind throughout the long history of our first national park. There are deaths by nature--those hot pools, lightening, bears, drowning-- and by death by man--Indians, dumb accidents, suicide, murder. There is a bit of "these-victims-were-too-dumb-to-live" about this, but there's also a picture of the park geographically and historically. Lots of "who knew?"--for example, boating on Lake Yellowstone can be deadly, and Old Faithful and the big geysers are the least of one's worries--tons of little hot tubs everywhere! At the end Whittlesey discusses the real problem: how do you preserve the wildness for which the park is cherished while keeping visitors safe? Probably not the book for a long car trip but perhaps to dip into. Grisly and harrowing but cautionary. Good thing I've already been to Yellowstone.

  • C
    2018-10-14 23:45

    This book is thoroughly researched and jam packed with information. For that I give it 4 stars.It is so thorough, though, that at points it gets pretty dry. It starts out so dramatically with the death-by-thermal-pool chapter, that everything after that doesn't really measure up. Granted, not that I want people to die in more dramatic ways so that it'll be more interesting to read...It is more that the thermal pools are such a bizarre and horrific way to die, everything else seems... tame. I had to take a moment to reflect the physical process of a human being parboiled or stewed. Nevermind a human you know and love. In front of you. So, it is good to note that the book can get quite graphic, and horrific. But, the flip side to that is that it's not a work of fiction, and these are real risks to consider when being in the park. Particularly falling (make sure your hiking shoes have good tread!) and drowning ("don't cross the streams!" is more universal than initially thought!)Overall, it was an interesting read. Particularly the legal issues surrounding those deaths (also a bit dry, but still interesting) and the dilemma of preserving nature wild & natural vs. trying to protect humans from their own foolishness.

  • Andie
    2018-09-27 22:58

    I received this audio book from the Early Reviewers program and, once again, I had not read the description of what I requested closely enough. I thought this was going to be a murder mystery set in Yellowstone, but instead, it is a chronicle of seemingly every death that has occurred in the park since it's inception.I will say three things about this book:1. It is not for the squeamish. The author graphically relates stories of people being boiled alive in thermal springs, being flayed and eaten by bears and being gored by bison. It came as a relief when people just started dying by falling trees.2. The stupidity of people apparently knows no bounds. The vast majority of the deaths related in the book could have been avoided if the victims ha just followed basic safety rules prominently displayed at the park.3. About two thirds through the book I just got bored at so much death and it just was not interesting (or shocking anymore)This is a good cautionary book for anyone venturing into America's National Parks, but the author would have better served the reader is he had eliminated some of the deaths he relates. We did not need to hear about every last one of them.

  • Christine
    2018-10-17 21:06

    No mystery what the book is about; the title says it all. However, word of caution: If you're hoping for a Faces of Death account of death in Yellowstone, this isn't your book. But, if you'd like a tastefully written, historical recounting of the various ways in which people have died in Yellowstone in the last 100 years, then Whittlesey's book IS for you. Lots of interesting information, lots of common sense reminders about life in the the wilderness. Whittlesey says it best: "While appreciating its (nature) wholeness, we must never abandon a healthy respect for wilderness. Wilderness is impersonal. It does not care whether you live or die. It does not care how much you love it. So while we are loving the Yellowstone wilderness, while we play in it, indeed revel in it, taking it on its own terms and helping to protect it, we foolish mortals must always remember to respect it. For not only can it bite us, but, indeed, it can devour us."

  • CatBookMom
    2018-10-04 02:56

    The first part is really fascinating: deaths by falling into thermal features (hot springs), bears, bison. FWIW, I worked for the Nat’l Park Service (NPS) for 3 summers while I was in college - 1968-1970. Not only was I there for the initial story about a child mentioned in this book, which story made national news, about a boy who drowned in a thermal feature, I transcribed the initial Old Faithful local-office NPS inquiry from the cassette tape of their discussions to paper. Everything this book says about it is congruent with what I recall of the happenings. It was horrifying. If you go to Yellowstone, keep your young kids on a leash (literally), or attached to your hands every single moment.

  • Msstressa
    2018-09-23 01:51

    Like many, I got this book while in Yellowstone. I bought it shortly after a canoe camping trip that had so many mishaps we could have ended up in the next edition of this book. Maybe I'm morbid, but I did enjoy reading about all the ways that things can go horribly wrong in the most beautiful place on earth. A word to the wise: if your dog goes into a thermal pool, don't dive in after it, okay?

  • William
    2018-10-13 03:01

    While at times the list nature of the names of the dead were tedious overall the book was an interesting tale of the foolishness of man in the great outdoors. It seems if there is a way for man to die he has accomplished it in Yellowstone.

  • Jessica King
    2018-10-07 21:57

    An interesting catalogue - but that's all it is. If you're expecting something more Bill Bryson-y, you will be disappointed. It needs some serious editing because parts are repetitive.

  • Cathy
    2018-09-20 22:52

    Do not, under any circumstances, read the chapter on bear maulings and deaths while you're in a tent in a campground in Yellowstone. And if you do, do not have your 12 year old child's foot anywhere near your own foot as you sleep. Why? Because that child's foot will inadvertently touch your foot just as you are falling off to sleep in that tent and you will silently FREAK OUT, sure that you're about to be mauled and eaten by a bear. Also, if the temperatures fall below 40 degrees F, take care reading the chapter about freezing to death. If you avoid those situations, you will probably love this book like I did. I read it during our 6 days in Yellowstone and it made the trip more fun. I regaled my family will tales of death in different places in the park. Sounds macabre, but it was pretty interesting.

  • Olivia Krupp
    2018-10-05 19:54

    "So while we are loving the Yellowstone wilderness, while we play in it, indeed revel in it, taking it on its own terms and helping to protect it, we foolish mortals must always remember to respect it. For not only can it bite us, but indeed, it can devour us."

  • Sameer
    2018-10-02 20:39

    Death in Yellowstone was saddening, but also very comical. The deaths were humorous because of how dumb they were. Many of these deaths were about idiotic people jumping into hot springs or aggravating bears, but some you could find sympathy. Other deaths were just rumors, and others were just injuries. Overall, this book explained many kinds of hilarious and sad deaths. This book was for entertainment and information. One of my favorite parts of the book was when a lady questioned what danger meant on a sign. She asked, "Is Danger the name of the hot spring, or is it really dangerous?" Quite frankly, this scared me. Mind you, this incident happened in the late 1800's, when Yellowstone was first founded. Another idiotic death in Yellowstone was when a man jumped into Celestine Pool, over 200 degrees Fahrenheit. Although it sounds dumb enough, it gets worse. The man was trying to save his dog. His dog Moosie jumped into the pool and he followed to try and save her. Not the smartest decision if I do say so myself. But there were other parts which you find pity for those who died. For instance, a little four-year-old boy accidentally stepped too close to a spring. The ground snapped and the boy fell in, dying the next day from third degree burns all over his body. One rumor that I found really interesting was when man fell into a hot spring and did not come out. So people thought he was dead. The man was soon found and rescued as he was lying on the ground. He stated that he found a little tunnel connecting the hot spring to a geyser and went through. Soon though, the geyser seemed as if it were to erupt. The pressure in the geyser pushed the hurt man out of the geyser. He escaped just before it erupted. This story is clearly false, but I can see why it was so believable. In Yellowstone, a place exists where a hot spring connects to a geyser. I can connect this to my life because over the summer we went to Yellowstone National Park. It was really fun to visit, and I enjoyed this book more when I could relate to it.I would rate this book ten out of ten. This is because of it's very well written style. It really got you into the book because it seemed very lively and upbeat for a book about death. However, I would recommend this book to readers above the age of 12. This is because of some advanced phrases and words that readers under 12 might not understand. Also, the topic of death is very difficult to wrap your head around. Because of this, readers under 12 should not read this. Otherwise, I loved this book. It had good vocabulary, a fantastic writing style, and it kept the reader satisfied.

  • Kathryn
    2018-09-22 20:41

    I purchased this book at 9:00 am today at the Canyon Village Visitor Education Center in Yellowstone National Park, and finished reading it today at 5:30 pm, on the road northwest between Riverton, Wyoming, and Dubois, Wyoming. (If you have traveled in western Wyoming, or even if you haven’t, there are long stretches of road with only sagebrush and far-off mountains in sight; perfect for reading while one’s husband is driving.)Yellowstone is wilderness, and the National Park Service (and before them, the US Army) have done their best to keep the general public safe in the park wilderness. But when you have a 3,472 square mile tract of land that has been a National Park since 1872 which contains deep canyons, rivers, mountains, geysers, boiling hot springs, bison, bear, and extreme winter conditions, it’s not surprising that people have died in the Park.The book first covers Death by Nature, leading off with the guy who dove headfirst into a boiling hot spring to rescue his unleashed dog (neither survived). Several Deaths by Nature have resulted in lawsuits against the National Park Service; apparently some people have trouble understanding that geysers, bison, and bears are dangerous in the extreme, and that one should obey the rules around such forces of nature.The second section of the book covers Death by Man; especially in the wild early days, there were some murders in the park boundaries (including a snowbound army sergeant who killed a snowbound mutinous private).The author does not include auto or snowmobile deaths, on the grounds that such are not specific to the Park; exclusive of those deaths, between 1839 and 1993 there were over 300 deaths in Yellowstone National Park. The author’s conclusion is that one should pay attention in the Park, and that the Park cannot turn into some sort of High Mountain Disneyland; wilderness is wild, and if one goes there, one must follow rules and use due caution. And have fun!

  • Hilary
    2018-09-30 00:54

    Is it weird to say that I thoroughly enjoyed a book about the various ways people die in what is arguably the best National Park? No? Okay, then I thoroughly enjoyed reading this. Death in Yellowstone has not only a wonderful title (who doesn't dig the word Foolhardiness?) but also proves to be a very thorough history about the manifold ways people find themselves perishing within this idyllic setting. Everything from bears to lightning, falling to freezing, and stagecoach accidents is covered between these pages. It starts off detailing the ways people died in thermal pools and hot springs (and includes details such as eyes boiling in skulls), and it all just goes downhill (uphill?) from there.The main takeaway from the book is meant to be to keep the wilderness wild, and respect the wilderness - it can kill you. The book does succeed thoroughly in that task, but one also needs to realize that it thoroughly succeeds in highlighting just how idiotic some visitors to the park can be. Who looks at a bear and thinks "I'll put my baby on top of it, that would make a perfect picture!" Why do so many people hike where they shouldn't? Why are people still skinny dipping in hot springs and thermal pools? The world may never know.This book could easily have been four or five stars, but the writing was a bit dry now and then. The contents are certainly four or five star worthy, especially the section that Karen copied about small dog owners. Respect nature people, it can (and judging by this book will) kill you.

  • Dee
    2018-10-18 03:41

    I never expected to read this entire book let alone enjoy it so much. The author has really done their research well, the stories are so detailed and thorough. And really a fascinating read, regardless of whether you are familiar with Yellowstone or not.

  • J
    2018-09-29 19:56

    Death in Yellowstone sounds really interesting and there are interesting stories contained in the book. Sometimes it takes a lot of reading to get to the truly fascinating, though. Whittlesey generally does a good job of relating the depths of stupidity by park visitors while also trying to find lessons from the tales. His research has dug up a truly extensive list of fatalities connected to Yellowstone. The book drags, at times, though. Some stories are glossed over or act as filler while others get due attention. Sure, the historical record only goes back so far and the early incidents require a certain amount of trust in that the source material is fairly accurate. Sometimes I wish the author wasn't trying to be so extensive. It's good but seems to be missing something to make it a truly compelling read start to finish. Those who are not familiar with Yellowstone's layout to get a better idea of where places are will be sorely at a disadvantage as there are no maps present in the book. Good, not great, but Whittlesey can't be faulted for the cases where information is lacking. He does relate a good story when there's amble information.

  • Jody
    2018-10-16 22:46

    People are really stupid. Sometimes incredibly unlucky. I'm so glad the author added the subtitle about foolhardiness. The author is a great researcher and most of the book at the back is notes, references, index, etc. My husband heard him speak at seasonal training in May in Yellowstone. Whittlesey divides the book into topics of HOW people died. I believe the beginning was about the hot springs and various pools. One guy JUMPED IN after his dog (even after others around him said, "Don't!") and of course, died later. When I explained to my husband that the first jump was so hot that the guy naturally opened his mouth in a gasp and proceeded to burn his esophagus (sp? much too lazy to look that up), my husband twisted his face into a horrible cringe and said, "Stop! I'm going to be sick!" One of our friends who worked in the park last season said, "Everything there is trying to kill you." It's true.

  • Laura
    2018-10-10 02:52

    I wanted to enjoy it far more than I actually did, I'm afraid. While I thought the subject matter was very interesting, I found the presentation to be pretty bland. It was all presented in the following format: x number of people died in this fashion, here are their names, here is what happened. Very dry and repetitive and, consequently, boring at times. I'm actually rather impressed at how few people have died in Yellowstone, considering how many people visit every year and how long the park has been in existance. 300 is just a drop in the bucket, really. Nonetheless, the book does serve as a good reminder to be careful when visiting National Parks -- follow posted signs, stay on trails, and use your head. Stupidity will kill you faster than anything.

  • Cindy
    2018-10-02 21:57

    I rounded up my stars to a 4 for sheer amount of information and research involved in the making of the book. It wasn't the book I was expecting but it was definitely interesting. I am actually amazed that there haven't been more deaths and injuries in the park. The incidents in the book range from lightning strikes and avalanches to murders and suicides to wild animal attacks. Incidentally, the number of death and injuries by wild animal attacks are extremely low when you factor in the volume of humans that visit the park every year and human stupidity. Respect nature, people. Seriously.

  • Kay
    2018-10-16 23:54

    I can't help myself, reading these sorts of things. Maybe it's because of my profession. It might interest you to know that days before we arrived an 18-year-old from Russia working at the concessions died from a fall into the canyon by Inspiration Point, and another person died in a traffic accident. The book was published before the two deaths by bear last year, too. There are no memorials to all the various tragedies in the park, only current warning signs.

  • Anthony Whitt
    2018-09-27 22:42

    I read this while on a family vacation in the park. Drove my wife crazy that I did, but the dangers in the park are incredible and I was fascinated by what not to do. Small mistakes have tragic consequences when visiting the wilderness and too many folks pay the ultimate price for foolish decisions. Read this book and don't be that guy.