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Death in Yellowstone by Lee Whittlesey
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Death in Yellowstone (1995)

by Lee Whittlesey

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2522145,464 (3.84)10
  1. 00
    Off the Wall: Death in Yosemite by Michael P. Ghiglieri (prosfilaes)
    prosfilaes: Similar, but with better writing.
  2. 00
    Over the Edge: Death in Grand Canyon by Thomas M. Myers (infiniteletters, Helcura)
    Helcura: In the same vein, but much more engagingly written.
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Showing 1-5 of 21 (next | show all)
This book does what it says: it relates deaths in various forms as they occurred in and around Yellowstone National Park, mostly since its founding. Some of the deaths are presented as warning cases, presenting situations and activities that prudent people should avoid. On the whole the book is poorly written and not very interesting, except for the compelling nature of death itself. ( )
  baobab | Jul 4, 2015 |
After having just visited Yellowstone National Park, along with a number of other parks as well, I was interested in the history of a lot of these places. Yellowstone, particularly, I felt would have a rich history since it was the first national park created. Of all possible books, this one just seemed really intriguing. It's certainly not the type of book that you want to read right before bed, that's for sure. It could potentially give you nightmares.

Very interesting stories about the different ways that people have died while visiting Yellowstone National Park. Basically, the moral of the story is to follow the rules if you value your life. You don't want to fall into a geyser, get eaten by a bear, or fall down a canyon. Be smart and safe…not foolhardy. ( )
  jms001 | Jun 14, 2015 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I purchased the first edition of this book while exploring Yellowstone in 2001 and I'm thrilled to see the updated version.

This is a glorious (if a little macabre) fact-filled book split into sections detailing the history of deaths in Yellowstone National Park. Anyone who has been there knows that the caretakers of this park have done an exemplary job keeping it as pristine and as natural as possible and unfortunately many park visitors don't keep that in mind.

With this update the author has clarified some details from the earlier version and also added new 'older' deaths and modern ones. His tone is respectful throughout while sneaking in a few scoldings to those who may make some silly decisions in the future.

Yellowstone is a glorious visit in both summer and winter but do not take the park for granted. Don't dive into any hot springs, don't tease the bison, and don't swim alone. Unless of course you want to end up in the 3rd Edition... ( )
  taisiia | Aug 16, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
"Death in Yellowstone" is not really about lurid encounters resulting in gory deaths. Rather, it is an extremely well researched and documented history of fatalities in the Park since it was created in 1872. "Death in Yellowstone" has 284 pages of text; a 7-page chronology; 3 appendices detailing grave sites and cemeteries; 52 pages of notes; a 15-page bibliography; and a 29-page index. This is a serious history that would interest readers of the work of Aubrey Haines, previous park historian and ranger.

This is a revised second edition of the original published in 1995. Author Lee Whittlesey not only updated the accounts of deaths but discovered some early deaths that he had overlooked. The 25 chapters cover all facets of death. Whittlesey is the current Park historian who has spent 35 years studying the Yellowstone area and has authored more than 10 books and 25 articles on his research.

Deaths caused by nature include thermal features; freezing; poisonous plants; falling rocks; earthquakes, and lightening. Deaths caused by humans include suicides; shootings; fights; and crashes involving cars, airplanes, horses, wagons and stagecoaches. ( )
3 vote TommyB | Jul 4, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
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. ( )
  BellaFoxx | May 29, 2014 |
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It is a mystery why anyone would dive head first into a Yellowstone hot spring merely to save a dog, but that is precisely what happened on July 20, 1981.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Yellowstone National Park has a long history of deaths by everything from earthquakes to bear attacks, poison gas, and lightning. Since 1870 there have been 300 deaths, all brought together in this fascinating book by a long-time chronicler of Yellowstone's history.… (more)

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