Read the West Book Club, September 2022
"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, Wyoming, 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.