Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Show Me a Book about the American West

I love stories -- histories, fiction -- about the settlement of the American west. Favorites? Oh, I have several, but a few are ...
  • The Big Sky
  • Son of the Morning Star
  • Little Big Man
  • Lonesome Dove
  • Gone to Texas

... and so I was intrigued when I was asked to review ...

AMERICAN BUFFALO: In Search of a Lost Icon
By Steven Rinella

288 pp. Spiegel and Grau $24.95

... for The Internet Review of Books.

It might be a difficult read for the squeamish ...

"In Kansas, bone pickers accumulated a pile of bones along the Santa Fe Railroad that was ten feet high, twenty feet wide, and a quarter mile long. By 1890, even the bones were scarce."

... and because Rinella narrates his own hunt for and kill of a buffalo from an Alaskan herd, but the book is scholarly, thorough, and accessible.

1 comment:

Bob Sanchez said...

Good job on that review, Gary. I turn skeptical when people write about complex or mystical relationships between hunter and hunted. The author went out to kill a buffalo, and he did it. The buffalo knew nothing of this alleged philosophical bond; it just took a bullet and died. All that other stuff goes on in the hunter's head to make him feel better. Hunting is fine, but it isn't harvesting--that's for carrots and turnips--and it isn't consummating a mystic relationship. It's killing.