Book illustrates Smoky Mountains in poster style

The "Bear Jam" poster from the "Illustrated Guide to Great Smoky Mountains National Park" by Dan Pierce, Joel Anderson and Nathan Anderson.

Black Mountain resident and historian Dan Pierce will present a book talk on "The Illustrated Guide to Great Smoky Mountains National Park" at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5 in UNC Asheville's Humanities Lecture Hall.

"The Illustrated Guide to Great Smoky Mountains National Park" features 40 original posters mirroring the style of works commissioned by the New Deal WPA (Works Progress Administration). It contains historical information covering a wide variety of topics relating to the Smokies.

Works from the guide will be on display in Ramsey Library, with an opening reception following the book talk. All events are free and open to everyone. Pierce, National Endowment for the Humanities Distinguished Professor in the Humanities at UNCA, will give the talk with collaborating author Nathan Anderson and artist Joel Anderson.

Dan Pierce

"We wanted to cover well-known places like Clingman's Dome and Chimney Tops, but (the book) is also salamanders and old-growth forests," Pierce said. "And of course, we have one on elk, and a really fun one on bear jams."

Pierce and the Andersons (father and son) made five trips into the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to research the book. "We focused on history, natural history, hiking and wildlife," Pierce said. "We wanted to deal with every possible aspect of the park that we could, and also think about what's going to work visually."

A specialist in Southern and Appalachian history, Pierce has written several books on the history of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, including his most recent work, "Hazel Creek: The Life and Death of an Iconic Mountain Town." Best known in the popular press as a NASCAR historian, Pierce is the author of "Real NASCAR: White Lightning, Red Clay, and Big Bill France" (University of North Carolina Press, 2010), and articles on the sport in "Southern Cultures" and in numerous encyclopedias.

Graphic artist Joel Anderson is the creative director and designer for Anderson Design Group, based in Nashville, Tenn. He received an Emmy Award for his work on a CBS kid's show, and was named Art Director of the Year by the Nashville Advertising Foundation in 2010. His son, Nathan Anderson, has worked as wholesale manager and staff writer at Anderson Design Group since 2013.

For more, contact Pierce at