STEVEN RINELLA is the author of The Scavengers Guide to Haute Cuisine and a correspondent for Outside magazine. His writing has also appeared in TheNew Yorker, American Heritage, the New York Times, Field & Stream, Mens Journal, and Salon.com.He grew up in Twin Lake, Michigan, and now tries to split his time between Alaska and Brooklyn, New York.
Both a captivating narrative and a book of environmental and historical significance, "American Buffalo" is an adventurous, fascinating examination of an animal that has haunted the American imagination.
Bison once ranged across the Great Plains of North America in vast herdsand#8212;early 18th-century explorers described them as and#8220;innumerableand#8221;and#8212;and at the beginning of the 19th century they numbered in the tens of millions. During the next century or so humans were responsible for the bisonand#8217;s near-extinction in North America, slaughtering an estimated 50 million for their meat, pelts, and fur, reducing the bison population to less than 1,000 by 1890. Hunting of bison became so prevalent that travelers on long-haul trips in the Midwest would shoot them from their trains. Attempts to revive the American bison in recent times have been highly successful however: farming of bison has increased their population to nearly 150,000, and the American bison is no longer considered an endangered species.
In Bison renowned zoologist Desmond Morris explores the animaland#8217;s evolution and habitat, from the first evidence in fossil records 2 million years ago to today. He reveals the different sides to its personalityand#8212;they are extremely unpredictable and, while they normally appear lazy and calm, can attack at any momentand#8212;and describes the important differences between the European wisent and American bison, the only two species now surviving.
This book, complete with many vibrant illustrations of bison from nature, art, and popular culture, will appeal to anyone curious about the natural and cultural history of this iconic creature.
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