American Serengeti: The Last Big Animals of the Great Plains

American Serengeti The Last Big Animals of the Great Plains 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 Serenget

  • Title: American Serengeti: The Last Big Animals of the Great Plains
  • Author: Dan Flores
  • ISBN: 9780700622276
  • Page: 303
  • Format: Hardcover
  • 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 creatureWinner 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.

    One thought on “American Serengeti: The Last Big Animals of the Great Plains”

    1. Hugely depressing account of the Serengeti that used to be on our Great Plains, although that in no way detracts from the book's quality. It's well researched and the author does not shy from having a strong opinion, which is refreshing. Each chapter presents the case of a different animal from the Plains and I didn't even know some of them were (and sometimes are) there. The quotes from historical travelers add to the narrative an exciting, majestic quality in their awe at scenes of wildlife. I [...]

    2. Phenomenal book. I wish they would have taught this history in school rather than the boring crap they taught us.

    3. a moving snapshot of what we had on the Great Plains and a hanging-by-a-thread dream of what we might have again Dan doesn't resort to name calling, rather he paints a picture and in the process gives us a treasure none of us will see the Plains as they were intended, as they evolved 10,000 years ago, but I am thankful that I now have that wild place in my mind's eye, it makes me a more complete American

    4. Picked the book up after I had seen Dan Flores on a podcast. Was captivated by the conversation regarding Coyotes, the Short-faced bear and whatnot. American Serengeti certainly delivered on that front. As Flores speaks, the book is just as passionately written. It's a vivid telling of how the great plains used to be.'Used to be' implies a lesser current state, and in reading this book you will get quite the insight in how much damage was done to the local ecosystem. To steal and paraphrase a li [...]

    5. Informative, but very sad. It makes me ashamed of our species. I truly don't understand why so many humans have an obsession to kill other creatures simply because they exist. This slaughter on the Great Plains was not done primarily for food or even to clear a space for farms and ranches, although some killing was done for these reasons, of course. The most disturbing aspect was the wholesale murder of millions of animals in the most inhumane ways imaginable simply because their presence was of [...]

    6. Interesting perspective on the Great Plains. Takes the reader all the way back to early animal life and all the way up to the present day. I had no idea of the size and scope of animal herds at different time periods and what elements impacted various animal populations. There is a chapter on each of the former large animals that were brought to near extinction. And the book ends with a discussion on what is possible now in terms of restoring at least some of this land back to its former ecosyst [...]

    7. This is a really interesting look at the loss of a hugely important uniquely American ecosystem and the many species that once occupied it. Before starting this I had listened to a lot of podcasts with the author, and I may have learned too much from said podcasts. It was nice to get more detail from the book though. I especially enjoyed the chapters on brown bears and the wolves. I also read his coyote book recently, which I enjoyed immensely, which also kind of tainted how much I liked this bo [...]

    8. The best parts of the books were the ones about the pleistocene environment. I realize that even the more boring parts about US internal politics were important since it has a lot to do with environmental protection laws, but I just wanted to hear more about mastodons and other prehistoric creatures, 'cause nothing makes me happier than paleontology. If you are interested in the politics, this is probably 5/5 for you. (And for the record, that is important shit. I just wanted a book to help with [...]

    9. This morning my wife and I visited Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge and saw half a dozen bison that are descendants of the more than 10 million bison that once freely roamed the North America's Great Plains along with pronghorn, grizzly bears, wolves, wild horses, and coyotes. In American Serengeti Dan Flores tells how Americans changed the Great Plains from a magical haven for wildlife into a dull expanse of cattle ranches and farms. It's a sad story with a plethora of villains a [...]

    10. A short and rather depressing history of the great plains and the animals and people who lived there. It does clean up some commonly held myths about issues such as the near extinction of the American bison and 'who dun' it'.The author draws from a range of sources including, science, history, and current political issues to paint a picture of a singular landscape that was the closest thing to Africa outside of Africa that was ground down into ruin by free market capitalism.My only complaints is [...]

    11. Wow! A fascinating study in the variety and quantity of wildlife which were doomed by greed and nonsensical policies of citizens who believed our resources were unending. Much like the trends which decimated trees across our vast Country, millions of buffalo, antelope, wolves, beaver and other animals fell to rifles, and traps of market hunters, ranchers, and trappers.

    12. There’s probably nothing wrong with this book, but I found it a bit difficult to focus on. Perhaps it would have been easier to read it in print, with some pictures and maps to accompany it. It is definitely an interesting book if you don’t get too depressed about humans killing off any species they come across.

    13. loved it. not that long ago the plains were covered in bison twice the size of our dwarf buffalo of today, false cheetahs, steppe lions, bears twice the size of grizzlies, dire wolves and heyenas, all feeding on the herds of antelope, bison and mustangs. the book walks is through what happened to them.

    14. I think this book would have been better had there been no mention of wild horses as native wildlife. Why not have a chapter on wooly mammoths? I get it, there used to be horses in North America but there used to be dinosaurs also. Why waste time reintroducing something that naturally vanished?

    15. An interesting history of animals in North America, from pre-civilization to modern day. Flores explores historical accounts of early European-American settlers in the west and their destruction of animals across the continent that were forced to the Rocky Mountains for refuge.

    16. So much of what I learned as 'manifest destiny' in school looks so different to me after reading this. Deeply thought-provoking and somewhat heartbreaking to read the natural history of our plains. I hope we commit as a country to re-wilding some of the plains.

    17. LOVED this book. It should be required reading for all Americans! I learned so much about the history of our Great Plains--so much I didn't know that I didn't know!!

    18. Great history of the animals of the Great Plains. I really liked how each chapter focused on one type of animal.

    19. Great history of the animals of the American plains and how almost of all them were close to being extirpated.

    20. You might also enjoy:✱ Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History✱ The Animal Dialogues: Uncommon Encounters in the Wild✱ The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks✱ Yellowstone: A Journey through America's Wild Heart✱ Crossing Open Ground✱ Wild Ones✱ Eating StoneGrizzlies✱ Grizzly Years: In Search of the American Wilderness✱ The Lost Grizzlies: A Search for Survivors in the Colorado Wilderness✱ Grizzly: The Bears of Greater YellowstoneWolves [...]

    21. This is the best book I have read about the decimation of the megafauna of the Great Plains. It dragged a bit in the last chapter when rewilding and efforts to establish prairie parks was related in perhaps too much detail. Books should end with a bag and not with a whimper IMHO.

    22. Somewhat uneven, but nevertheless a notable suite of essays by Flores. I will review this work in the weekly feature, Plains Folk.

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