Book details

Lassoing the Sun

A Year in America's National Parks

Author: Mark Woods

Lassoing the Sun

Lassoing the Sun


About This Book

"In this remarkable journey, Mark Woods captures the essence of our National Parks: their serenity and majesty, complexity and vitality--and their power to heal." --Ken Burns

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Book Details

"In this remarkable journey, Mark Woods captures the essence of our National Parks: their serenity and majesty, complexity and vitality--and their power to heal." --Ken Burns

For many childhood summers, Mark Woods piled into a station wagon with his parents and two sisters and headed to America's national parks. Mark’s most vivid childhood memories are set against a backdrop of mountains, woods, and fireflies in places like Redwood, Yosemite, and Grand Canyon national parks.

On the eve of turning fifty and a little burned-out, Mark decided to reconnect with the great outdoors. He'd spend a year visiting the national parks. He planned to take his mother to a park she'd not yet visited and to re-create his childhood trips with his wife and their iPad-generation daughter.

But then the unthinkable happened: his mother was diagnosed with cancer and given just months to live. Mark had initially intended to write a book about the future of the national parks, but Lassoing the Sun grew into something more: a book about family, the parks, and the legacies we inherit and the ones we leave behind.

Imprint Publisher

Thomas Dunne Books



In The News

"Earnest and heartfelt, [Lassoing the Sun] captures how one family handles the joys and sorrows of life, with American’s most beautiful landscapes standing in the background."--Travel & Leisure

"Midlife burnout propelled Woods to spend a year visiting the national parks for a book about their future. But his mother's unexpected cancer diagnosis shifted his focus, resulting in a mediation on both personal and environmental legacy."—Entertainment Weekly

If you decide to read only one book in celebration of the National Parks Service Centennial, Lassoing the Sun by Mark Woods would be a solid choice. You will enjoy a pleasant, heart-warming surprise as you turn the pages long into the night, unable to put down the book." -Courtney Miller, 50 Campfires Book Review

“A love letter to family and our national parks that is as big as a son’s heart, as beautiful as the night sky and as stunning as the American landscape.” —Wade Rouse, author of At Least In the City Someone Would Hear Me Scream and America's Boy

"Lassoing the Sun is a beautifully written reminder that we leave pieces of ourselves -- of our families -- in national parks. Woods shows us that they're never lost, just held by the wilderness for safekeeping. We find them when we return." —Ben Montgomery, author of Grandma Gatewood's Walk

"Lassoing the Sun is a history lesson that feels like a conversation with an old friend. But more importantly, it is a story of memory, loss, love, solitude, and rediscovering our own compass.” —Neil White, author of In the Sanctuary of Outcasts

“The guy is so good. And he has such a fresh way of looking at things. I was just thrilled by the way he plans to move the discussion forward.” —Jim Dwyer, Pulitzer Prize winner

"A dazzling experience indeed, one that honors the memory of his own mother and her inspiring love of the parks... Woods weaves a timeline that traverses generations, raising more challenges for the future every step of the way."— Book Page

"Beautifully written and it sneaks in plenty of history lessons in a way that feels relevant and satisfying. Woods has done a remarkable thing here. Highly recommended."—Scene (5 Stars)

"Woods makes a clear case for the significant power of the parks on our collective and personal psyches. A deeply heartfelt story about why the national parks remain so integral to the American story."-Booklist

"This travel memoir will appeal to readers who love the outdoors. Those who would rather stay inside with a good book will be touched by the story of a mother and son saying their goodbyes."
-- Library Journal

"The book that emerged is an extraordinary, beautifully crafted memoir that explores not just our national parks, but our places in them, our families, our legacies and the healing power of nature."-Mercury News

"Some books come into your life and stay with you. For whatever reason, they strike a chord and fit right in. And while this is rare, it does happen. One book that is forever lodged in my heart is Lassoing the Sun."—Wandering Educators

"I recommend Lassoing the Sun! If you love natural histories, memoirs, travelogues, this book is a great blend of these genres. Mark Woods' ties our lives to our landscapes. He celebrates our commitment to the national parks model and holds us responsible for sustaining this particularly American legacy."—Local Ecologist: Book Review

"Author Mark Woods will keep you turning the pages of this moving personal journey to some of America's iconic and little-known national parks." —National Park Journal

About the Creators

Lassoing the Sun

Lassoing the Sun