- Hardcover: 288 pages
- Publisher: Basic Books; 1 edition (June 7, 2016)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0465052991
- ISBN-13: 978-0465052998
- Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 99 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #73,419 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History 1st Edition
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Longlisted for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award
"The coyote should have been TIME Magazine's Person of the Year. This deeply engrossing study is part scientific, part mythological, and part personal observation. It is fully fascinating."
"Captivating... Dan Flores looks at a creature whose howl sent shivers down the spines of generations of farmers and ranchers. They responded by waging war on an animal that not only refused to disappear, but began showing up in places like Central Park. The coyote turns out to be the Road Runner in disguise, and is having the last laugh after all."
-Wall Street Journal
"[An] engaging study."
"[A] remarkable book... which I highly recommend for all readers who are concerned about the future of wildlife and their environments in North America. Readers will be engaged immediately by the historical, cultural and ecological insights Flores provides with wit and wisdom."
-Dr. Michael W. Fox, The Animal Doctor
"A masterly synthesis of scientific research and personal observation... Much of the charm of Coyote America lies in the interludes in which the author sketches his own evolution from the teenager who thoughtlessly shot a coyote in his native Louisiana to the historian and naturalist whose fascination with the mammal that early travelers called 'the prairie wolf' knows no bounds."
-Wall Street Journal
"A fascinating new biography of the species."
-The Wild Life
"Historian Dan Flores tracks the pedigree, chronicles the plight, and sings the praises of Canis latrans in his new book, Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History. Although his academic research is wide-ranging and his presentation nuanced, there's no doubt Flores' heart is on the side of the animal."
"Compassionate and captivating... [Flores] warns us, 'coexistence with coyotes is an essential lesson.' His exuberant book is the lesson plan."
-Christian Science Monitor
"Coyotes have a legendary appeal in North America, from the folklore tales of indigenous tribes to everyone's favorite 'Super Genius,' Wile E. Coyote. In Coyote America, Flores does more than just shed light on the legend; he explores 5 million years of biological history that lead up to the evolution of the modern coyote (Canis latrans) and details the unique versatility of an animal that has continued to thrive despite human campaigns of annihilation."
"It is often impossible to separate how animals behave 'wild' from how they behave around humans. Coyotes are a startling example.... Historian Dan Flores has fun describing how coyotes make a mockery of our attempts to put nature in order: 'It turns out, the coyote really is The Dude, and The Dude absolutely abides.'"
"Wide-ranging, engaging, informative... Flores is both a fine scholar and a most engaging writer. He argues most persuasively that we need to learn to live with coyote and the other beings with which we share this earth."
-National Parks Traveler
"A wonderful read... chock full of detailed information and stories about this most adaptable mammal."
"Engaging... provides a unique insight into the age-old war of man vs. wild... [Flores's] storytelling is riddled with humor and tidbits of information that pique interest and make it impossible to put down... From cover to cover, it's a truly thrilling read, leaving readers with a better idea of the way urban development has impacted the world and a desire to protect the existence of animals that have, in more recent days, been labeled dangerous predators. Acting as both a knowledgeable guide and a public service announcement, this book is a must-read for anyone with an interest in animal welfare and environmentalism."
"A must-read book if you are interested in knowing more about this persecuted critter, revered by Native Americans long before the settlers arrived."
"Coyote America possesses an extraordinary sweep and is an intriguing read."
"The most compelling part of Flores' story - and what makes Coyote America an important book - is what it says about the U.S. government's misguided and continuing battle against the coyote."
-Santa Fe New Mexican
"Flores stares long and deeply into the coyote's eyes, returning to us with cultural treasures both sparkling and lyrical."
-Open Letters Monthly
"A must read for all Americans, whether you are a farmer or rancher, a suburban or city folk."
-Mother Earth News
"Historian Flores has written about the American West for decades, so it's no surprise his gaze should turn to the region's scrappy mascot. Over the past 500 years, the original desert-dweller has expanded its territory as far north as Alaska, south into the tropics and deep into many cities. That ubiquity has created a host of problems for both the animal and its neighbors, human and otherwise. Flores captures all sides of the situation in this detailed portrait of an American icon."
"[A] fascinating scientific and cultural history.... Deft prose and wide-ranging research do their part to carry Flores through the grimmer chapters of his narrative.... Whatever the coyote may still be wanting, that list no longer includes a book to do it justice."
-New Mexico Magazine
"[An] absorbing book.... The coyote stories in this book are among the best, and Flores is a master storyteller."
"In a straightforward style, the author unpacks the myths and urban legends surrounding the coyote and conveys his admiration and respect for this incredibly intelligent predator.... Highly recommended for natural history enthusiasts interested in moving beyond the conventional wisdom about coyotes to gain a deeper understanding of their presence in our midst."
"[A] spirited blend of history, anthropology, folklore, and biology that is capable of surprises.... Well written throughout and just the right length, Flores' book makes a welcome primer for living in a land in which coyotes roam freely - in, that is to say, the Coyote America of his title."
"Flores's mix of edification and entertainment is a welcome antidote to a creature so often viewed with fear."
"In this brilliant book, Flores traces the wane and wax of the coyote. Their story is interwoven with our story, but it is also like our story, that of a species that has faced challenges and overcome them. Read this book if you want to understand the wild canids among us and also, perhaps, a little bit more about yourself."
-Rob Dunn, author of The Man Who Touched His Own Heart
"As I was reading Coyote America by Dan Flores, a coyote walked through our backyard. Magic occurs in these pages."
-Terry Tempest Williams, author of The Hour of Land: A Personal Topography of America's National Parks
"Dan Flores's Coyote America is an utterly fascinating look at the life and range of Canis latrans. It brilliantly blends environmental history with old-fashioned storytelling. Flores is a master of the American West and a personal hero. A must read!"
-Douglas Brinkley, Professor of History at Rice University and author of Rightful Heritage: Franklin D. Roosevelt and the Land of America
From the Inside Flap
The howl of a coyote at dusk is one of the chief symbols of the American West, but in recent years, weve been hearing it farther and farther east. Even New York Cityabout as far from the Southwest as one can get, both geographically and figurativelyhas been the site of a rash of coyote sightings for more than a decade. From Central Park to the Aleutian Islands, Los Angeles to Bangor, Maine, coyotes have been found in places theyve never been seen before: one was even discovered riding a commuter train in Oregon.
The coyote, it turns out, loves the American people. This is ironic, given that since the nineteenth century, Americans have been at war with the coyote. Nevertheless, the coyote has not only survived our onslaught, it has thrived, using the streets of our cities as springboards for a takeover of the continent. Dan Flores, acclaimed historian of the American West, charts the species explosive growth not just as a natural phenomenon but a cultural one, with roots in the Native American stories of a trickster god and Warner Brothers depiction of the hapless Wile E. Coyote. The result is an American avatar: the coyote isnt just some very successful dogit is us.
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Flores says that the coyote resilience is because they can function well as individuals or in groups, and can quickly adjust to the ecological possibilities of an area. This resilience evolved in part because of another kind of persecution: wolves kill coyotes and coyotes had to evolve ways to cope with that. Human eradication of wolves in most of the USA opened up opportunity for coyotes. Flores thinks coyotes are a lot like humans in being flexible and coping with stress.
There's an amusing but serious point in American attitudes. People who like the animal say "ki-YOH-tee" and people who dislike the animal (and rural Westerners) say "ki-yote." There's a bit of a cultural war over coyotes, although not as severe and militant as over wolves.
Flores discusses coyotes in cities, primarily Los Angeles and Chicago, although they've made it to New York and even Staten Island. They're in all states but Hawai'i. Flores discusses coyote mixing with wolf and dog populations. Perhaps the coyote is developing subspecies better able to cope with the human environment of cities and suburbs. The elimination of feral dogs from cities (violently done in the 19th century and domestic dogs gone feral do not last long) did the same thing elimination of wolves did, opening up areas for coyote opportunism. Coyotes can be dangerous, killing a toddler in California in 1981 and an adult woman in 2009 (in Nova Scotia). Some do eat cats, but coyotes cleaning up outdoor cats is something of an urban myth; they eat mice and rats and insects, and don't raid dumpsters.
One almost side discussion is whether there really is something called a Red Wolf. Some research has shown they have 80% coyote genes and if they are not a real species, we're spending a lot of money on them. Flores looks at the evidence and finds it rather more complicated.