Windshield Wilderness: Cars, Roads, and Nature in Washingtons National Parks

Paperback | February 11, 2010

byDavid LouterForeword byWilliam Cronon

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In his engaging book Windshield Wilderness, David Louter explores the relationship between automobiles and national parks, and how together they have shaped our ideas of wilderness. National parks, he argues, did not develop as places set aside from the modern world, but rather came to be known and appreciated through technological progress in the form of cars and roads, leaving an enduring legacy of knowing nature through machines.

With a lively style and striking illustrations, Louter traces the history of Washington State’s national parks -- Mount Rainier, Olympic, and North Cascades -- to illustrate shifting ideas of wilderness as scenic, as roadless, and as ecological reserve. He reminds us that we cannot understand national parks without recognizing that cars have been central to how people experience and interpret their meaning, and especially how they perceive them as wild places.

Windshield Wilderness explores what few histories of national parks address: what it means to view parks from the road and through a windshield. Building upon recent interpretations of wilderness as a cultural construct rather than as a pure state of nature, the story of autos in parks presents the preservation of wilderness as a dynamic and nuanced process. Windshield Wilderness illuminates the difficulty of separating human-modified landscapes from natural ones, encouraging us to recognize our connections with nature in national parks.

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In his engaging book Windshield Wilderness, David Louter explores the relationship between automobiles and national parks, and how together they have shaped our ideas of wilderness. National parks, he argues, did not develop as places set aside from the modern world, but rather came to be known and appreciated through technological pr...

From the Jacket

New in Paperback--David Louter explores the relationship between automobiles and national parks, and how together they have shaped our ideas of wilderness. He traces the history of Washington State's national parks--Mount Rainier, Olympic, and North Cascades--and considers what it means to view parks from the road and through a windshi...

David Louter is a historian with the National Park Service in Seattle, Washington.
Format:PaperbackDimensions:288 pages, 9 × 6 × 0.68 inPublished:February 11, 2010Publisher:University Of Washington PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:029599021X

ISBN - 13:9780295990217

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Table of Contents

MapsForeword by William CrononAcknowledgmentsIntroduction: Nature as We See It1. Glaciers and Gasoline: Mount Rainier as a Windshield Wilderness2. The Highway in Nature: Mount Rainier and the National Park Service3. Wilderness with a View: Olympic and the New Roadless Park4. A Road Runs Through It: A Wilderness Park for the North Cascades5. Wilderness Threshold: North Cascades and a New Concept of National ParksEpilogueNotesSelected BibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

In his engaging book Windshield Wilderness, David Louter explores the relationship between automobiles and national parks, and how together they have shaped our ideas of wilderness. National parks, he argues, did not develop as places set aside from the modern world, but rather came to be known and appreciated through technological progress in the form of cars and roads, leaving an enduring legacy of knowing nature through machines.With a lively style and striking illustrations, Louter traces the history of Washington State’s national parks -- Mount Rainier, Olympic, and North Cascades -- to illustrate shifting ideas of wilderness as scenic, as roadless, and as ecological reserve. He reminds us that we cannot understand national parks without recognizing that cars have been central to how people experience and interpret their meaning, and especially how they perceive them as wild places. Windshield Wilderness explores what few histories of national parks address: what it means to view parks from the road and through a windshield. Building upon recent interpretations of wilderness as a cultural construct rather than as a pure state of nature, the story of autos in parks presents the preservation of wilderness as a dynamic and nuanced process. Windshield Wilderness illuminates the difficulty of separating human-modified landscapes from natural ones, encouraging us to recognize our connections with nature in national parks.David Louter is the beginning of a new generation of national park historians. His lively style draws me from page to page. - John Reynolds, former Deputy Director, National Park Service