By the 1870s the great American experiment was well underway; the United States was in the period of reconstruction after a civil war which nearly destroyed the nation and moving its newly reunified focus westward. Capitalizing on a European tradition of preserving land for public use, the U.S. federal government began claiming the magnificent landscapes on tribal lands—what is now the American west—for public recreation and aesthetic pleasure. But this tradition was not so simple in the American context—with long-term repercussions that would only further divide the population. Join the Carnegie Endowment for the first of a two-part Summer Reads series featuring Megan Kate Nelson, author of Saving Yellowstone, and Dan Baer, acting director of Carnegie’s Europe Program, on how the Yellowstone story might inform our understanding of contemporary political discourse on land and the environment.