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Badluck Way: A Year on the Ragged Edge of the Westby Bryce Andrews
Bryce Andrews has written a fascinating account of the intersections between humans and wild animals, nature and violence, and our capacity for transformation. Badluck Way is mesmerizing.
Synopses & Reviews
The gripping memoir of a young man, a wolf, their parallel lives and ultimate collision, Badluck Way is also an ode to the satisfaction of hard work on some of the wildest and most beautiful land in the world.
Mine might have been a simple, pretty story, if not for the wolves. In late July, they emerged from the foothills...
Reminiscent of Farley Mowat’s Never Cry Wolf and Matthew Crawford’s Shop Class as Soul Craft, this vivid narrative of a year on the wild, windswept Sun Ranch in southwest Montana describes life on the range in haunting language. Just over the border from Yellowstone, the Sun holds thousands of cattle and elk amid many predators — bear, mountain lions, and wolves. Ranch hand Bryce Andrews recounts marathon days and nights of building fences, riding, roping, and otherwise learning the hard business of caring for cattle, an initiation that changes him from a city kid into a skilled cowboy. But when the wolves suddenly begin killing the ranch’s cattle, Andrews has to shoulder a rifle, chase the pack, and do what he’d hoped he would never have to do.
Badluck Way is about transformation and complications, about living with dirty hands, every day. It is about the hard choices that wake a man at night and take a lifetime to reconcile. Called, “An important meditation on what it means to share space and breathe the same air as truly wild animals,” (Tom Groneberg, author of The Secret Life of Cowboys), Badluck Way is the memorable story of one young man’s rebirth in the crucible of the West’s wild landscape, a place at the center of the heart’s geography, savage and gorgeous in equal measure.
“One could find no better guide than Bryce Andrews for a journey along the shifting border between the wild and the tame; a daunting frontier filled with unsettling truths, blood and beauty. His wonderfully crafted prose is lean, yet rich in the telling details of seasons spent on a Montana ranch overseeing a shaky co-existence between cattle and wolves. Andrews is a keen-eyed ecologist, a skilled ranch hand and, best of all, a self-examining student of life with a young man’s inclination to push past fear and caution toward an embrace of risky, life-altering experience. In Badluck Way, Andrews shuns both cowboy romanticism and environmentalist sermonizing and illuminates the inescapable conflict between human economic imperatives and the compulsions of animal instinct. His book is a gripping tale of the West, raw and real.” David Horsey, columnist and cartoonist for the Los Angeles Times
“An important meditation on what it means to share space and breathe the same air as truly wild animals.” Tom Groneberg, author of The Secret Life of Cowboys
“Exquisitely written and unflinchingly honest, this haunting memoir about one man’s complex relationship with wolves and the wild will stay with you long after you finish it, oh so reluctantly.” Patricia McConnell, author of The Other End of the Leash
“In this unforgettable memoir, Bryce Andrews conjures the modern West with all its grit and conflict. At core lies the old grudge between livestock protection and predator control. This fine memoir contains meticulous details of onerous ranch work — the unexpected violence of herding cows, the backbreak labor of building fence. Haunting and lyrical, this marvelous work belongs on everyone's bookshelf alongside other Western Classics.” Craig Lesley, author of Winterkill and The Sky Fisherman
“This book will make you have deep thoughts about our relationships with the land, nature, and animals.” Temple Grandin, author of Animals in Translation
About the Author
Bryce Andrews writes from southwest Montana, where he manages a conservation-oriented cattle ranch. He has appeared on Montana Public Radio and PBS and his essays and short work have been published in High Country News, Big Sky Journal, Camas Magazine, and Backpacker.
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