A Reminder of What Unites Us in America the Beautiful

America the Beautiful

New Book from National Geographic Showcases Our Remarkable Home

While holiday gatherings might be more socially distant and low key this year, one thing that all American families can come together about is our beautiful country. With their new large-format book, publisher National Geographic explores not only what makes each of our 50 states remarkable, but also what draws us together in our outdoor spaces.

Filled with stunning photographs across the states, six territories and Washington, DC, the book America the Beautiful: A Story in Photographs (October 2020, National Geographic) features photos of the places, open spaces, and people who make up our country. It shows that we can not only admire a desert landscape filled with light, color and texture, but we also can revel at musicians playing on an intimate stage in the Gulf Coast and the comforting, familiar landscapes of where we each call “home.”

“We knew that [when this would be published] the fall of 2020 it would be a divisive time because of the election, but of course we couldn’t have anticipated the pandemic going on, or the difficult but necessary conversation going on about racial reckoning,” said National Geographic Editor-in-Chief Susan Goldberg in a recent interview.

“We wanted to put out a book that will remind people about why we love the country so much,” said Goldberg. “I think just paging through this book makes it feel like you’re taking a drive across the country.”

Robert F. Smith’s Love of the Great Outdoors

An avid lover of the outdoors, Smith has often reminisced on his childhood in Colorado and time spent in the national parks with his family. He is one of a few notable Americans quoted in America the Beautiful, along with President Barack Obama (who writes about growing up in Hawaii) and Good Morning, America host Robin Roberts (who writes about her home state of Mississippi).

“Growing up as a fourth-generation Coloradan, I learned early on to appreciate the diversity of the state’s geography and its people,” notes Smith in the book. “The ever-present majestic Rocky Mountains, crystal clear rivers and lakes teeming with shimmering rainbow trout and colorful greenback cutthroat trout, dense aspen groves that stretch as far as the eye can see, high plains of sagebrush, stunning canyon lands and plateaus, massive sand dunes and sweeping plains of waving grasses — all made for a backdrop of wonder. People come to Colorado to experience its natural beauty but they stay for the beauty of its welcoming people who possess a uniquely pioneering spirit.”

Smith also has dedicated many of his philanthropic endeavors to protecting outdoor spaces, from his work to protect urban trails in and around Austin, TX with The Trail Foundation, to his co-founding of Lincoln Hills Cares in Colorado to preserve and promote outdoor access for underserved groups. As founding director and President of the Fund II Foundation, Smith has influenced the nonprofit’s dedication to environmental conservation and the healing aspects of exploring the great outdoors.

You can find a copy of America the Beautiful at your local bookstore or online for gift giving or for yourself. A portion of book proceeds will be used to fund exploration, conservation and education through the work of the National Geographic Society.