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American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon Paperback – September 15, 2009
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Praise for American Buffalo
“This is some of the best writing on our great national beast since George Catlin—and that was in 1841. A real triumph.”
—Bill McKibben, author of The Bill McKibben Reader
“This is a big-game hunting story like no other: Steven Rinella is in search of an animal, quite literally. But also historically, existentially, and maybe even spiritually. Follow him on this curious armed quest—and, like him, you will quickly find yourself immersed in the fate of our mightiest and most talismanic beast.”
—Hampton Sides, author of Blood and Thunder
“Steven Rinella’s American Buffalo is a boldly original and ultimately refreshing book. It is also fearsome and occasionally frightening, and one wonders if the author is quite mad. There are insights into nature and American history here that will be totally unfamiliar to the reader.”
—Jim Harrison, author of Returning to Earth and Legends of the Fall
“Here is one of those rare books that make you feel larger, smarter, and entirely exhilarated for having read them. Steven Rinella's lens on the world is entirely his own, as is his grace on the page. American Buffalo is an achievement through and through.”
—Deirdre McNamer, author of Red Rover
“Moving and downright funny. . .Rinella writes with authority about the process of turning a living creature into steak, and easily renders an enormous amount of historical and scientific information into a thoroughly engaging narrative.”
—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Here is a wonderful young writer that everyone should know about. Steven Rinella is exciting, adventurous, technically gifted, honest, funny—a great new voice in American nonfiction.”
—Ian Frazier, author of Great Plains, On the Rez, and The Fish’s Eye
About the Author
STEVEN RINELLA is the author of The Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine and a correspondent for Outside magazine. His writing has also appeared in The New Yorker, American Heritage, the New York Times, Field & Stream, Men’s Journal, and Salon.com. He grew up in Twin Lake, Michigan, and now tries to split his time between Alaska and Brooklyn, New York.
Top customer reviews
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I bought his book, "American Buffalo," primarily b/c I've been buying a lot of free-range, grass-fed bison from Dan O'Brien's Wild Idea Buffalo Company and I thought it would be a good idea to learn some history about the animal. After having read Rinella's book, I now know not only a ton about bison, but also a lot more about the settlement of the western United States and the characters who lived there, the traditional way of life of many Native American tribes, Alaska's Wrangell-St. Elias National Park and Chetaslina/Copper River area, hunting in general, and about current tensions between the cattle industry and conservation groups regarding the reintroduction of wild, free-ranging bison into areas where they were once native.
I particularly enjoyed the later chapters where Rinella is successful in hunting a wild buffalo and his account of butchering the animal and transporting it out of the wild. It's a pretty harrowing tale. Lots of adventure. A lot of risk. I can't imagine being alone in grizzly country for days period--much less trying to pack out hundreds of pounds of meat IN THE DARK. Steven Rinella is hardcore and I have a ton of respect for his willingness to suffer for what he believes in. The only thing I didn't like about the book was knowing that I don't think I could ever do the same. Even camping in the campground in the Lamar Valley of Yellowstone National Park freaks me out. This guy camped multiple days covered in blood in backcountry grizzly habitat BY HIMSELF not far from the dead bison he was butchering. Then, for good measure, he whitewater rafts his cache of bison meat down the Chetaslina River--also in the dark.
Guy's a stud. Read his book. But fair warning you will feel like less of a man after having done so. I have to go do some push-ups now.................
If you like Rinella's podcasts, then you'll find a comforting familiarity in his narration in this book. He effectively breaks the main narrative (his hunt of a buffalo) with historical, technical, personal, and otherwise delightfully esoteric digressions.
Great for a quick weekend read.
experience. I can say this with perfect candor as one who has walked similar trails as the one he describes.
To those that have been there, this book will reverberate and feed your soul. You will put the book down
and have remembered, as well as learned. He will give some words to things you have felt, but not said.
To those that look from the outside, that have not experienced the connection that all men have with their
fellow hunters and the prey they hunt, may it bring light to them as well. Your life is connected to another's
death, no matter how civilized or how abstract your perception. How you honor that death is important to your well being. How you guard that life, as well as take it is the full circle of the survival of all. He has
honored the Amercian Buffalo well with this book. Some connected to the buffalo's past were also honorable.
Some were not. This book looks to a brighter future for both man and this amazing creature.
Thanks Steve. I would walk, hunt, or share a meal with you anytime. dxr