Shadowlands is a thoughtful, nuanced account of the 2016 seizure of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. McCann’s examination of this event is thorough, yet not bogged down by details. His vivid characterizations and willingness to grapple with the surrounding issues make this an outstanding read. Recommended By Mary Jo S., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
An "epic exploration" of the 2016 right-wing Oregon Occupation — "an excellent microcosm by which we might better understand our difficult national history and distressing political moment" (Maggie Nelson).
In 2016, a group of armed, divinely inspired right-wing protestors led by Ammon Bundy occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in the high desert of eastern Oregon. Encamped in the shadowlands of the republic, insisting that the Federal government had no right to own public land, the occupiers were seen by a divided country as either dangerous extremists dressed up as cowboys, or as heroes insisting on restoring the rule of the Constitution. From the Occupation's beginnings, to the trials of the occupiers in federal court in downtown Portland and their tumultuous aftermaths, Shadowlands is the resonant, multifaceted story of one of the most dramatic flashpoints in the year that gave us Donald Trump.
Sharing the expansive stage with the occupiers are a host of others-Native American tribal leaders, public-lands ranchers, militia members, environmentalists, federal defense attorneys, and Black Lives Matter activists-each contending in their different ways with the meaning of the American promise of Liberty. Gathering into its vortex the realities of social media technology, history, religion, race, and the environment-this piercing work by Anthony McCann offers us a combination of beautiful writing and high-stakes analysis of our current cultural and political moment. Shadowlands is a clarifying, exhilarating story of a nation facing an uncertain future and a murky past in a time of great collective reckoning.
"A riveting in-depth investigation . . . McCann's arresting and brilliant firsthand account is required reading for anyone interested in the ideological gap between the American Left and Right." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"The story Shadowlands tells is compulsively fascinating, and an excellent microcosm by which we might better understand our difficult national history and distressing political moment. McCann's magnificent prose, ever-questing intellect, wry humor, and uncommon empathy for human and non-human forms of life alike make Shadowlands a truly rare and stunning achievement." Maggie Nelson, National Book Critics Circle Award winning author of THE ARGONAUTS
"Anthony McCann knows the Western past has not vanished; it has just gotten weirder. Shadowlands takes us down a Western rabbit hole where a delusional settler story staged for the internet on sacred Native ground illuminates the United States we now inhabit. This is a classic American story." Richard White, Pulitzer Prize finalist for RAILROADED
"A momentous and important non-fiction debut . . . The core subject is nothing less than the nature of American identity and the concept of freedom. Admirably, McCann's ethos is not that of a neutral bystander but of a truth seeker. He thinks through viewpoints with depth and empathy, but he also takes stands and calls out the problematic for what it is." Booklist (Starred Review)
About the Author
Anthony McCann is the author of the poetry collections Thing Music, I Heart Your Fate and Moongarden. He currently teaches creative writing at the California Institute of the Arts and in the Low-Residency MFA program of the University of California, Riverside. Born and raised in the Hudson Valley, McCann now lives in the Mojave Desert.