"After years of conducting meticulous research, Lary Dilsaver has successfully assembled the authoritative account of the storied and complex history of Joshua Tree National Park. Like other national-park-based conservation efforts in the California Desert, Joshua Tree's story is filled with challenges and conflicts. He has traced the park's tumultuous past from its establishment as a national monument in 1936, through the removal of more than 265,000 acres from the national monument during the 1950s, to its designation, expansion, and administration as a national park in 1994, and up to the present time. Preserving the Desert is a must read for all who love our national parks, enjoy the California Desert, and would like to see these lands preserved in perpetuity!"
—Mark Butler, Retired Superintendent, Joshua Tree National Park
"This outstanding book will serve as the definitive historical geography and management history of Joshua Tree National Park. Joshua Tree is one of the nation's most visited yet threatened parks, and it offered author Lary Dilsaver an opportunity to explore the area's evolution from an unwanted wasteland to an environmentally vulnerable and amenity-rich sanctuary. The fascinating story he tells also reveals how Joshua Tree is not only a window into the larger evolution of Southern California, but an outstanding example of how a blossoming affinity for an arid-lands aesthetic transformed a place once seen as devoid of beauty or utility into one of the nation's premier desert playgrounds and preserves."
—William Wyckoff, Professor of Geography, Montana State University, and author of How to Read the American West: A Field Guide and Creating Colorado: The Making of a Western American Landscape, 1860–1940