Like so many travelers we just love to visit our National Parks. 2016 is the year that the National Park Service celebrates its 100th Anniversary. While it might be impossible to visit all the parks this year you can now celebrate all National Parks in the comfort of your own home with the book 59 Illustrated National Parks by Joel & Nathan Anderson.
If you like to visit the parks and you may also have enjoyed the old color posters portraying all the beauty and nature of the parks. The iconic simple yet bold posters were created by artists in the WPA (Works Progress Administration) Federal Art Project, which was part of the New Deal Works Program. The project created posters for the Federal Arts Program, Federal Theater Program and the National Parks. What’s really amazing about the program is that it gave more than 10,000 artists and craft workers jobs during the Great Depression from 1933-1936. I was surprised to learn that among the artists in the program was Jackson Pollack.
The National Parks posters became quite popular and many people still collect them. The nostalgic look of the posters and the reminder of beautiful parks struck a cord with a lot of people. 59 Illustrated National Parks is full of illustrations created by the Andersons and their staff of artists. They have taken the time to study the old posters and have recreated a similar look and feel with their own illustrations.
The Anderson family has a love for travel and a deep respect for the National Parks. The many family trips they’ve taken, including several National Parks, inspired them to spend five years creating these stunning posters and book. I’m especially fond of the illustrations that feature wildlife.
The 160-page book is available in hard or soft cover and includes 59 National Park posters plus 12 oil paintings and a map of all the National Park locations. Each National Park has a beautiful poster followed by an overview of each park with historic park photos. There’s also a handy graphic that tells you what state the park is in, the best time of year to visit and a “Did You Know?” fact. They’ve also included some quotes from National Park employees telling their personal stories of the parks.
“It is not what we have that will make us a great nation: it is the way in which we use it.”
Also included is a section celebrating the National Parks’ 100th Year Anniversary, which provides the background of how the parks got started with Yellowstone. It also delves into how John Muir, Theodore Roosevelt and countless other Americans saw how greed would destroy the most beautiful parts of our country. From miners blasting holes into scenic mountain sides to hunters decimating the buffalo, wolves and grizzly bears, the history is compelling and eye-opening.
This timeless book makes a wonderful gift for anyone you know you loves the National Park system or someone who would like to learn about it. The beautiful illustrations and tidbits about each unique and breathtaking park make it a great read. It’s a coffee table book that everyone will pick up and either reminisce about a trip from the past or plan a trip to a National Park they discover in the book.
As someone who’s interested in art, I also enjoyed the section on “How The Art Is Made,” which gave behind-the-scenes details of each artist’s technique. If you especially like any of the posters they are also available on their website for purchase.
59 Illustrated National Parks is available at $29.95 for the soft cover and $49.95 for hard cover. Click here to go directly their website.
We thoroughly enjoy this book on our coffee table. Thanks to the publishers of 59 Illustrated National Parks for sending us a copy to review. We were not financially compensated and all opinions are as always our own.
THE QUICK BITE: 59 Illustrated National Parks is a wonderful way to explore all the United States National Parks through beautiful poster illustrations and a storytelling history of the National Parks.