Re-Bisoning the West

DUE IN SEPTEMBER America's complicated relationship with the bison is the subject of Kurt Repanshek’s Re-Bisoning the West, in which he traces the shameful history of Americans with the great shaggy beast of the plains as well as our modern attempts to replace and reimagine them in the western landscape.  It’s a particularly timely book as the bison as recently been named the first the national mammal of the United States.  By now, the near-extinction of the bison by the beginning of the twentieth century is well known.  What is perhaps less understood by twenty-first century Americans is the fraught process of conservation, made difficult by cattle-bison cross-breeding, diseases carried by some bison, and the always complicated politics of Western land use by the federal government. At the center of the controversy is the Yellowstone herd, the survivors of the Great Slaughter of the nineteenth century. Their role as a source of pure bison DNA is hampered by the fact that they also carry brucellosis, a disease rightly feared by the ranchers whose lands surround the park. Repanshek navigates these waters in deft and interesting prose that is scientific and historical and very compelling, asking important questions about how we can reintegrate the bison into the modern American landscape.  The bison is our nation’s next high-profile symbol of destruction and then conservation. Hopefully, it will join the bald eagle as a symbol not just of the nation but of our ability to correct the mistakes of our past. If you have ever stood in the Hayden Valley of Yellowstone or along the high plains of Theodore Roosevelt National Park and watched the great brown beast rumble and snort its way across the landscape, you will love this book.  If you have never seen large herds of bison, this book will inspire you to seek them out and marvel at their strength, beauty, tenacity and vulnerability. Recommended by Sarah

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Re-Bisoning the West: Restoring an American Icon to the Landscape Cover Image
ISBN: 9781937226985
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Published: Torrey House Press - September 24th, 2019

"A much-needed look at the exceptionally fraught relationship between bison and people...engaging and comprehensive."

"A fascinating perspective...Re-Bisoning the West demonstrates the complex relationships the species maintains with the earth and humanity itself."