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Grassland: The History, Biology, Politics and Promise of the American Prairie Paperback – July 1, 1997
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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There are some nicely provocative bits. His vision of the prairie rests on bison ranching, with the animals eating native grasses without irrigation, fertilizer, or other capitalist agriculture. As if that's not controversial enough, he makes a serious case that a meat-and-leather prairie economy rests easier on the land than food crops such as wheat or corn. These crops have destroyed the prairie and harm the broader environment because of the extensive irrigation and fertilization required. Obviously, this strategy of making our agriculture conform to the land instead of forcing the land to conform to our agriculture would be a major change for Americans and others around the world..
Manning is not afraid to take the next logical step, and he makes a principled argument against vegetarianism. Eating free-range bison raised on natural grasslands, he argues, would sit more lightly on the ground and would probably use less (petroleum-based) energy. This is not your conventional environmentalist, to say the least.Read more ›
The mountain wildernesses with their "charismatic megafauna", deserts, wild rivers, forests, seashores, and wetlands have little difficulty attracting environmental advocates, but how do the grasslands, the largest single biome in North America, fit into this picture?
Manning is slow to unfold his unorthodox proposals, preferring first to educate his readers. Thankfully, Manning's style is more narrative and anecdotal than pedagogical. His topics are wide ranging: Indian cultures, exotic weeds, Pleistocene extinctions, Jefferson's agrarian theory, disappearing aquifers, buffalo hunting, and industrialized farming.
Manning has definite opinions, but he is surprisingly fair; he clearly outlines and explains contrary ideas. I questioned some of his interpretations and occasionally even his facts, but all in all Manning's thesis appears credible.
I had some qualms about revealing Manning's manifesto in absence of his preparatory discussions. Even in context, his proposals are unexpectedly original. With caution, I proceed:
Richard Manning advocates eliminating large scale, industrialized farming and cattle ranching on America's extensive arid and semi-arid grasslands.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very interesting book! Gives a great, broad background, without being too preachy. Very readable.Published 3 days ago by E.S.
One of the best books I've ever read. Mr. Manning tells an environmental story no one else is telling.Published 5 months ago by Pat Hill
This book's strength is it weakness. It is very readable. It is semi-romantic in the tradition of Walden. Some of the sentences are very poetic. Read morePublished 21 months ago by ReadsAlot
This is one of the best books I've read about our country's grassland -- brings in history, geography, politics, and economics in a very readable way.Published on September 5, 2013 by BBCO
Richard Manning is a gifted writer who cooks cold facts into poetry. The American prairie is one of our least-understood resources. Manning serves it lovingly and well.Published on January 20, 2013 by Bob Ruby
Not! The Grasslands are a substantial part of what our bi-coastal "cousins" routinely and rather patronizingly refer to, as "the fly-over zone. Read morePublished on May 25, 2012 by John P. Jones III
This can be an exasperating book, but ultimately it is a valuable and rewarding one. Though now seventeen years old, it should be read by everyone interested in, or in any way... Read morePublished on May 3, 2012 by R. M. Peterson
I grew up across the street from a hardwood forest in Michigan. When my family visited relatives in North Dakota, the vast wide open grasslands seemed so dry, empty, sad. Read morePublished on March 5, 2012 by Richard Reese (author of Sustainable or Bust)
There's not much to say about a book. It's in a good condition and it's a small handy book.Published on October 26, 2010 by Patmalico