Empire of Shadows by George Black

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Black has written a terrifically energetic and scrupulously researched book, but it too seldom seems to realize that it’s a war-book, and that the war had losers.
-Open Letters Monthly

Synopsis

"George Black rediscovers the history and lore of one of the planet's most magnificent landscapes. Read Empire of Shadows, and you'll never think of our first—in many ways our greatest—national
park in the same way again."
—Hampton Sides, author of Blood and Thunder

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 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 Black¹s Empire of Shadows is a groundbreaking historical account of the origins of America¹s majestic national landmark.

 

About George Black

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GEORGE BLACK is the author of The Trout Pool Paradox and Casting a Spell. He is the executive editor of OnEarth magazine, a publication of the National Resources Defense Council. He lives in New York.
 
Published March 27, 2012 by St. Martin's Press. 561 pages
Genres: History, Travel, War. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for Empire of Shadows
All: 2 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 0

Open Letters Monthly

Excellent
Reviewed by Steve Donoghue

Black has written a terrifically energetic and scrupulously researched book, but it too seldom seems to realize that it’s a war-book, and that the war had losers.

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Portland Book Review

Excellent
Reviewed by Linda Frederiksen on Mar 15 2012

Well-documented and researched, the story is recurrently tragic but never dull or dry. Recommended reading for those who enjoy realistic accounts of the American West.

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