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American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon…
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American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon (edição 2008)

por Steven Rinella (Autor)

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2621580,535 (3.93)13
American Buffalo is a narrative tale of Rinella's hunt for this animal in the Alaskan wilderness. But beyond that, it is the story of the many ways in which the buffalo has shaped our national identity. Rinella takes us across the continent in search of the buffalo's past, present, and future.
Título:American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon
Autores:Steven Rinella (Autor)
Informação:Random House (2008), 306 pages
Colecções:Kindle, A sua biblioteca
Etiquetas:Outdoors, Non-fiction

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American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon por Steven Rinella

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A fascinating story, integrating the history of American bison with Rinella's Alaska buffalo hunting expedition. Of course, there's a challenge: "How can I claim to love the very thing that I worked so hard to kill?" and the same conflict arises in the broader history: "At once it is a symbol of the tenacity of wilderness and the destruction of wilderness; it's a symbol of Native American culture and the death of Native American culture; it's a symbol of the strength and vitality of America and the pettiness and greed of America; it represents a frontier both forgotten and remembered; it stands for freedom and captivity, extinction and salvation."

I learned a lot about the buffalo, and enjoyed Rinella's careful and detailed story of his own trip. Yes, there is a fair bit of pushing through brambles, so it can be a slow burn, but that adds to the atmosphere. Rinella also alternates ably between his story and historical anecdotes, and the balance works.

There's also a great first sentence:

> In the past week I've become something of a buffalo chip connoisseur.

> The Indians' rush to get horses and hunt buffalo on the Great Plains was like a slow-motion version of the westward exodus that accompanied the California gold rush of 1849. Many of the tribes that we now think of as dominant Great Plains buffalo hunters—the Crow, Blackfoot, Sioux, Pawnee, Kiowa, Comanche—were either weak, small tribes before the horse or part-time horticulturalists. The horse made them extremely powerful

> When the Lewis and Clark expedition was traveling up the Missouri River in 1805, they found a hundred rotting buffalo carcasses left over in a place where Indians had made a large kill. "We saw a great many wolves in the neighborhood of these mangled carcasses," wrote Lewis. The wolves were so overstuffed that Captain Clark walked up to one and killed it with his spontoon, a sort of walking staff tipped with a blade.

> One could make a cogent argument that the widespread advent of buffalo jumps marked the beginning of the end for buffalo.

> Once the railroad made it to Miles City, Montana, in 1881, word spread that the core of the last great herd had been tapped. Hide dealers calculated that 500,000 buffalo ranged within 150 miles of town. Soon there were five thousand hide hunters killing the animals. A herd that was estimated at seventy-five thousand head crossed the Yellowstone River three miles outside of Miles City, moving north as a great mass. Hunters stayed with the buffalo like sheepdogs, pushing them along. Accounts vary, but anywhere from zero to five thousand buffalo were all that was left by the time the herd reached Canada.

> The Santa Fe was greeted outside Granada, Colorado, with a mound of bones that was ten feet by twenty feet and a half mile long. Railroads would build spurs from the main line just for the sake of collecting stacks of buffalo bones.

> They also sell a lot of bone ash to movie production companies that want to replicate oil spills. Mixed with vegetable oil, bone ash makes a biodegradable dead ringer for Texas tea. If you've seen The Beverly Hillbillies, Die Hard 3, Men in Black, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, or Jarhead, you've seen the contemporary products of a company that once produced about 650 tons of buffalo bone ash every year.

> There are, in fact, two classifications of North American buffalo that are recognized (by some) today: there's the wood buffalo of the Canadian boreal forests, and the plains buffalo of the Great Plains. The animals are separated by some minor variations; most notably, the hump of the wood buffalo is squarer in profile, and the wood buffalo's hair is longer, darker, and straighter. Taxonomists once described the wood buffalo as a separate species altogether, with its own name. While the plains buffalo was Bison bison, the wood buffalo was Bison athabascae. However, modern genetic research has revealed essentially no difference between the two. ( )
  breic | Jan 27, 2021 |
Great story of an American Icon. Why it is an icon, how it was almost destroyed and why it was important to shaping America. ( )
  cwflatt | Jul 12, 2013 |
This fantastic story about Bison bison (aka, the American buffalo or bison) and the hunting of said animal is based on a lot of luck. The author and hunter, Steven Rinella, was lucky enough to be awarded one of only 24 hunting permits, was lucky enough to actually be able to make it to the hunting grounds and, most importantly, was lucky enough to actually bag a buffalo (one of only 4 of the permitted hunters that did so). Then he was lucky enough to have the opportunity to write a great book about his adventure.

And this book is more about adventure than hunting. Living in the Alaskan wilderness with only what you brought or what you could find while stalking a monstrous beast in his territory and keeping an eye out for poachers is not for the faint of heart. And while I am not a hunter but thoroughly enjoyed this book and as such I don't agree with some reviewers that feel that Rinella's detailed descriptions of the hunt and the subsequent cleaning of his kill might be unappreciated by non-hunting readers. (Though at the risk of sounding sexist, generally speaking it will probably be more palatable to the male audience.) Rinella educates us on the once-glorious American buffalo and the impact it had on our country's ecosystems and native peoples.

When I was a little kid, my parents and grandparents used to take us to the Ft. Worth Stock Show and they would always buy my brother and I a 'grab bag' prize -- they paid a buck and we grabbed a brown-paper bag out of a large bin which had some to-be-treasured little trinket inside. I remember that one year I got a buffalo cast of hard plastic that was about the size of the palm of an adult's hand. We had seen a buffalo at the stock show and I had been impressed by its menacing size and look so for years that cast buffalo was counted among my worldly treasures and I have been interested in the great animal ever since. Rinella's account made rich with ample and detailed background information took me back to those days. The author really makes you really feel that we Americans have really lost something with the near-disappearance of this living 'lost icon'. ( )
1 vote chilemery | May 4, 2010 |
I was interested in this book because I eat buffalo - and it's the only meat I eat. Rinella wins a chance to hunt Buffalo in Alaska. He tells both the story of his hunting expidition and gives an extensive history of the buffalo. Even though there are lots and lots of facts, the stories that surround the facts are interesting enough to hold my attention. There are many gory details so if you are squeamish reading about blood and guts, this may not be the book for you. I listened to this book on CD.
  annkucera | Aug 7, 2009 |
American History in the vein of Ian Frazier's "Great Plains."

Rinella does a good job with the basic history of the American Bison and mixes it well with his personal story of a Buffalo hunt. My only quibble is that I don't get a broad sense of who the author is. ( )
  GBev2009 | Jul 11, 2009 |
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American Buffalo is a narrative tale of Rinella's hunt for this animal in the Alaskan wilderness. But beyond that, it is the story of the many ways in which the buffalo has shaped our national identity. Rinella takes us across the continent in search of the buffalo's past, present, and future.

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