Dennis Drabelle

Dennis Drabelle was born and raised in St. Louis, where he graduated from St. Louis University. Earned a Master’s in English and a law degree, both from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Moved to Washington, D.C., where my favorite job as a lawyer was counsel to the assistant secretary of the interior with responsibility for the national parks.

By then I had developed a passion for wilderness–both hiking in it and reflecting on its importance to the human spirit. While working as a contributing editor of the Washington Post Book World from 1984-2015, I squeezed in as much backpacking as I could, ranging from Patagonia to Baffin Island, with many visits to the American West in between. Now living and writing in Asheville, N.C., with my spouse, Mike Bell, who doubles as first editor (unpaid but far from unappreciated) of everything I write.

Books in order of publication:

Mile-High Fever: Silver Mines, Boom Towns, and High Living on the Comstock Lode – 2009

The Great American Railroad War: How Ambrose Bierce and Frank Norris Took On the Notorious Central Pacific Railroad – 2012

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – 2019

The Power of Scenery: Frederick Law Olmsted and the Origin of National Parks – 2021

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