American Serengeti The last big animals of the Great Plains

Dan L. 1948- Flores

Book - 2016

"Bison. Horses. Coyotes. Wolves. Grizzly Bears. Pronghorns. A la John McPhee and Edward Hoagland, noted Western and environmental historian Flores dazzles with his vivid, informed, and richly detailed essays on six iconic animals of the American Great Plains. Diving into their genetic past as far back as the Pleistocene epoch and on up to restoration efforts in recent times, Flores is especially evocative and illuminating about the lives of these animals (and their interactions with humans)... in the several centuries running from the dawn of the Age of Exploration through the end of the Indian Wars"--

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Subjects
Published
Lawrence, Kansas : University Press of Kansas 2016.
Language
English
Physical Description
213 pages : illustrations, maps ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references (pages 185-196) and index.
ISBN
9780700622276
0700622276
0700622284
9780700622283
Main Author
Dan L. 1948- Flores (-)
Review by Choice Reviews

American Serengeti is a passionate elegy to the American Great Plains and their former fauna. Historian Dan Flores (Univ. of Montana, Missoula) draws deeply from his professional expertise and life as a denizen of this eco-region to create a poetic book that functions as both conservation manifesto and memoir. Writing for a general audience, as well as for students, the author masterfully renders an evocative portrait to elucidate all that has been lost—vast herds of free-ranging antelope and bison, with attendant predators such as wolves, coyotes, and grizzly bears. He interweaves First Nations' cultural perspectives into this compelling narrative. Today's conservation efforts to restore fauna are presented as commendable but resulting in a pale simulacrum of the North American Serengeti that once existed. Flores concludes by highlighting the restoration objectives of the American Prairie Reserve to "rewild" this system, which is the most promising path forward. The book could have used more detail and facts about conservation efforts and ecology. The bibliography that accompanies each chapter is helpful, but standard endnotes would have been more useful for academics and to ground the assertions made by the author. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers through upper-division undergraduates. Copyright 2016 American Library Association.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

In a work that is at once a lyrical evocation of the lost splendor and a detailed natural history of the charismatic species of the historic Great Plains, a veteran naturalist and outdoorsman draws a vivid portrait of each of the Great Plains animals in their glory—and tells the harrowing story of what happened to them at the hands of market hunters and ranchers and ultimately a federal killing program in the 19th and 20th centuries. (Natural History)

Review by Publisher Summary 2

Presents a detailed natural history of species of the historic Great Plains, offering a portrait of each of the animals in their glory and relating what happened to them at the hands of mankind.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

Winner of the Stubbendieck Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize

America's Great Plains once possessed one of the grandest wildlife spectacles of the world, equaled only by such places as the Serengeti, the Masai Mara, or the veld of South Africa. Pronghorn antelope, gray wolves, bison, coyotes, wild horses, and grizzly bears: less than two hundred years ago these creatures existed in such abundance that John James Audubon was moved to write, "it is impossible to describe or even conceive the vast multitudes of these animals."

In a work that is at once a lyrical evocation of that lost splendor and a detailed natural history of these charismatic species of the historic Great Plains, veteran naturalist and outdoorsman Dan Flores draws a vivid portrait of each of these animals in their glory--and tells the harrowing story of what happened to them at the hands of market hunters and ranchers and ultimately a federal killing program in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Great Plains with its wildlife intact dazzled Americans and Europeans alike, prompting numerous literary tributes. American Serengeti takes its place alongside these celebratory works, showing us the grazers and predators of the plains against the vast opalescent distances, the blue mountains shimmering on the horizon, the great rippling tracts of yellowed grasslands. Far from the empty "flyover country" of recent times, this landscape is alive with a complex ecology at least 20,000 years old--a continental patrimony whose wonders may not be entirely lost, as recent efforts hold out hope of partial restoration of these historic species.

Written by an author who has done breakthrough work on the histories of several of these animals--including bison, wild horses, and coyotes--American Serengeti is as rigorous in its research as it is intimate in its sense of wonder--the most deeply informed, closely observed view we have of the Great Plains' wild heritage.

Review by Publisher Summary 4

The story of what happened to six major species of the Great Plains--pronhorn antelope, gray wolves, bison, coyotes, wild horses, and grizzly bears--in the 19th and 20th centuries, and the prospects for recovering North America's "Serengeti" in our time by re-creating a great Plains wilderness on a Yellowstone-sized scale. The book is thus the story of plains slaughterhouse history in the 19th century and large-scale conservation hopes for the 21st.

Review by Publisher Summary 5

The story of what happened to six major species of the Great Plains--pronhorn antelope, gray wolves, bison, coyotes, wild horses, and grizzly bears--in the 19th and 20th centuries, and the prospects for recovering North America's "Serengeti" in our time by re-creating a great Plains wilderness on a Yellowstone-sized scale. The book is thus the story of plains slaughterhouse history in the 19th century and large-scale conservation hopes for the 21st.

Review by Publisher Summary 6

Winner of the Stubbendieck Great Plains Distinguished Book Prize America's Great Plains once possessed one of the grandest wildlife spectacles of the world, equaled only by such places as the Serengeti, the Masai Mara, or the veld of South Africa. Pronghorn antelope, gray wolves, bison, coyotes, wild horses, and grizzly bears: less than two hundred years ago these creatures existed in such abundance that John James Audubon was moved to write, "it is impossible to describe or even conceive the vast multitudes of these animals."In a work that is at once a lyrical evocation of that lost splendor and a detailed natural history of these charismatic species of the historic Great Plains, veteran naturalist and outdoorsman Dan Flores draws a vivid portrait of each of these animals in their glory--and tells the harrowing story of what happened to them at the hands of market hunters and ranchers and ultimately a federal killing program in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Great Plains with its wildlife intact dazzled Americans and Europeans alike, prompting numerous literary tributes. American Serengeti takes its place alongside these celebratory works, showing us the grazers and predators of the plains against the vast opalescent distances, the blue mountains shimmering on the horizon, the great rippling tracts of yellowed grasslands. Far from the empty "flyover country" of recent times, this landscape is alive with a complex ecology at least 20,000 years old--a continental patrimony whose wonders may not be entirely lost, as recent efforts hold out hope of partial restoration of these historic species.Written by an author who has done breakthrough work on the histories of several of these animals--including bison, wild horses, and coyotes--American Serengeti is as rigorous in its research as it is intimate in its sense of wonder--the most deeply informed, closely observed view we have of the Great Plains' wild heritage.