America’s Great Plains once possessed one of the grandest wildlife spectacles of the world, equaled only by such places as the Serengeti, the Masai Mara, or the veld of South Africa. Pronghorn antelope, gray wolves, bison, coyotes, wild horses, and grizzly bears: less than two hundred years ago these creatures existed in such abundance that John James Audubon was moved to write, “it is impossible to describe or even conceive the vast multitudes of these animals.” In a work that is at once a lyrical evocation of that lost splendor and a detailed natural history of these charismatic species of the historic Great Plains, veteran naturalist and outdoorsman Dan Flores draws a vivid portrait of each of these animals in their glory—and tells the harrowing story of what happened to them at the hands of market hunters and ranchers and ultimately a federal killing program in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The Great Plains with its wildlife intact dazzled Americans and Europeans alike, prompting numerous literary tributes. American Serengeti takes its place alongside these celebratory works, showing us the grazers and predators of the plains against the vast opalescent distances, the blue mountains shimmering on the horizon, the great rippling tracts of yellowed grasslands. Far from the empty “flyover country” of recent times, this landscape is alive with a complex ecology at least 20,000 years old—a continental patrimony whose wonders may not be entirely lost, as recent efforts hold out hope of partial restoration of these historic species. Written by an author who has done breakthrough work on the histories of several of these animals—including bison, wild horses, and coyotes—American Serengeti is as rigorous in its research as it is intimate in its sense of wonder—the most deeply informed, closely observed view we have of the Great Plains’ wild heritage.
The story of what happened to six major species of the Great Plains--pronhorn antelope, gray wolves, bison, coyotes, wild horses, and grizzly bears--in the 19th and 20th centuries, and the prospects for recovering North America's "Serengeti ...
Author: Dan Flores
Explores the transnational movements of people, plants, agricultural sciences, and techniques from Russia's steppes to North America's Great Plains.
Great Plains. As the settlers converted much of the land to farms and ranches, for crops and grazing, they greatly reduced the rich biodiversity of a region ... 23 Dan Flores, American Serengeti: The Last Big Animals of the Great Plains ...
Author: David Moon
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
The transformation of the American West is one of the key topics in the study of both US history and global environmental history. The role of ranching in the West is also central to the growing field of animal history. This volume covers the periods between the early Indigenous acquisition of horses in the eighteenth century, to the introduction of Hispanic horsemanship techniques and market cattle in the “Old West,” and finally to the work of twentieth- and twenty-first-century ranching families sustaining their ways of life. The documents in this volume reveal not simply the human past but also the distinct histories of cattle, horses, and the land. Readers will explore intersecting themes of capitalism and beef, environmental change, rural labor, and gender and racial politics as debated by westerners themselves, as well as the meaning and power of the cowboy myth in American life. The introduction incorporates recent scholarship and provides a fresh look at this key topic in American history, while informative headnotes and rich annotations help orient the reader within the historical sources.
Norman: U of Oklahoma P, 2003. Figueredo, Danilo H. Revolvers and Pistolas, Vaqueros and Caballeros: Debunking the Old West. New York: Praeger, 2014. Flores, Dan. American Serengeti: The Last Big Animals of the Great Plains.
Author: Susan Nance
Publisher: Broadview Press
During the Civil War, the Second Colorado Volunteer Regiment played a vital and often decisive role in the fight for the Union on the Great Plains—and in the westward expansion of the American empire. Christopher M. Rein’s The Second Colorado Cavalry is the first in-depth history of this regiment operating at the nexus of the Civil War and the settlement of the American West. Composed largely of footloose ’59ers who raced west to participate in the gold rush in Colorado, the troopers of the Second Colorado repelled Confederate invasions in New Mexico and Indian Territory before wading into the Burned District along the Kansas border, the bloodiest region of the guerilla war in Missouri. In 1865, the regiment moved back out onto the plains, applying what it had learned to peacekeeping operations along the Santa Fe Trail, thus definitively linking the Civil War and the military conquest of the American West in a single act of continental expansion. Emphasizing the cavalry units, whose mobility proved critical in suppressing both Confederate bushwhackers and Indian raiders, Rein tells the neglected tale of the “fire brigade” of the Trans-Mississippi Theater—a group of men, and a few women, who enabled the most significant environmental shift in the Great Plains’ history: the displacement of Native Americans by Euro-American settlers, the swapping of bison herds for fenced cattle ranges, and the substitution of iron horses for those of flesh and bone. The Second Colorado Cavalry offers us a much-needed history of the “guerilla hunters” who helped suppress violence and keep the peace in contested border regions; it adds nuance and complexity to our understanding of the unlikely “agents of empire” who successfully transformed the Central Plains.
William Leckie, The Military Conquest of the Southern Plains (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1963). Isenberg, Destruction of the Bison; Dan Flores, American Serengeti: The Last Big Animals of the Great Plains (Lawrence: ...
Author: Christopher M. Rein
Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
In centuries long past, a vast swath of grassland swept down the center of North America, from Canada’s Prairie Provinces to central Texas. This once-plentiful prairie has now all but disappeared. Humans have grazed, mowed, and plowed the plains, dammed the rivers, and imposed their will on the land and its creatures. Fortunately, some remnants have survived, including the Joseph H. Williams Tallgrass Prairie Preserve in northeastern Oklahoma. In this visually stunning volume, wildlife photographer Harvey Payne and historian James P. Ronda offer an intimate look at and into one of America’s Last Great Places. Spanning nearly 40,000 acres in Oklahoma’s Osage County, the Preserve is a living witness to a world that once existed. But the Osage prairie is not a museum or theme park—and it is not frozen in time. Under the stewardship of The Nature Conservancy, which has overseen its restoration, the Preserve lives on as a fully functioning ecosystem. And for twenty-five years, Payne and Ronda have explored these lands, together and in solitude. Rendered here in brilliant color and paired with Ronda’s informative yet deeply personal commentary, Payne’s photographs open our eyes to the ever-changing world of the Tallgrass Preserve. In chapters focused on grass, sky, birds, bison, and fire, Ronda and Payne reveal that the “Big Empty” is, in fact, teeming with life. Through interwoven images and words, Visions of the Tallgrass shows that our nation’s grasslands are sacred ground, a priceless piece of our American past—and future.
American Serengeti: The Last Big Animals of the Great Plains. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2016. Gibson, David J. Grasses and Grassland Ecology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009. Heat-Moon, William Least.
Author: James P. Ronda
Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
Losing Eden traces the environmental history and development of the American West and explains how the land has shaped and been shaped by the people who live there. Discusses key events and topics from the Beringia migration, Columbian Exchange, and federal territorial acquisition to post-war expansion, resource exploitation, and climate change Structures the coverage around three important themes: balancing economic success and ecological protection; avoiding "the tragedy of the commons"; and achieving sustainability Contains an accessible, up-to-date narrative written by an expert scholar and professor that supplements a variety of college-level survey or seminar courses on US, American West, or environmental history Incorporates student-friendly features, including definitions of key terms, suggested reading sections, and over 30 illustrations
Dan Flores, “Introduction” and “Empires of the Sun: Big History and the Great Plains,” in American Serengeti: The Last Big Animals of the Great Plains (Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 2016), 1–28. Glenn Hodges, “First Americans,” ...
Author: Sara Dant
Publisher: John Wiley & Sons
"What would rodeo look like if we took it as a record, not of human triumph and resilience, but of human imperfection and stubbornness?” asks animal historian Susan Nance. Against the backdrop of the larger histories of ranching, cattle, horses, and the environment in the West, this book explores how the evolution of rodeo has reflected rural western beliefs and assumptions about the natural world that have led to environmental crises and served the beef empire. By unearthing behind-the-scenes stories of rodeo animals as diverse individuals, this book lays bare contradictions within rodeo and the rural West. For almost 150 years, westerners have used rodeo to symbolically reenact their struggles with animals and the land as uniformly progressive and triumphant. Nance upends that view with accounts of individual animals that reveal how diligently rodeo people have worked to make livestock into surrogates for the trials of rural life in the West and the violence in its history. Western horses and cattle were more than just props. Rodeo reclaims their lived history through compelling stories of anonymous roping steers and calves who inspired reform of the sport, such as the famed but abused bucker Steamboat, and the many broncs and bulls, famous or not, who unknowingly built an industry. Rodeo is a dangerous sport that reveals many westerners as people proudly tolerant of risk and violence, and ready to impose these values on livestock. In Rodeo: An Animal History, Nance pushes past standard histories and the sport’s publicity to show how rodeo was shot through with stubbornness and human failing as much as fortitude and community spirit.
Rodeo Legends: 20 Extraordinary Athletes of America's Sport. Colorado Springs: Western Horseman, ... Fleharty, Eugene D. Wild Animals and Settlers on the Great Plains. ... American Serengeti: The Last Big Animals of the Great Plains.
Author: Susan Nance
Publisher: University of Oklahoma Press
Category: Sports & Recreation
A fresh history of the West grounded in the lives of mixed-descent Native families who first bridged and then collided with racial boundaries. Often overlooked, there is mixed blood at the heart of America. And at the heart of Native life for centuries there were complex households using intermarriage to link disparate communities and create protective circles of kin. Beginning in the seventeenth century, Native peoples—Ojibwes, Otoes, Cheyennes, Chinooks, and others—formed new families with young French, English, Canadian, and American fur traders who spent months in smoky winter lodges or at boisterous summer rendezvous. These families built cosmopolitan trade centers from Michilimackinac on the Great Lakes to Bellevue on the Missouri River, Bent’s Fort in the southern Plains, and Fort Vancouver in the Pacific Northwest. Their family names are often imprinted on the landscape, but their voices have long been muted in our histories. Anne F. Hyde’s pathbreaking history restores them in full. Vividly combining the panoramic and the particular, Born of Lakes and Plains follows five mixed-descent families whose lives intertwined major events: imperial battles over the fur trade; the first extensions of American authority west of the Appalachians; the ravages of imported disease; the violence of Indian removal; encroaching American settlement; and, following the Civil War, the disasters of Indian war, reservations policy, and allotment. During the pivotal nineteenth century, mixed-descent people who had once occupied a middle ground became a racial problem drawing hostility from all sides. Their identities were challenged by the pseudo-science of blood quantum—the instrument of allotment policy—and their traditions by the Indian schools established to erase Native ways. As Anne F. Hyde shows, they navigated the hard choices they faced as they had for centuries: by relying on the rich resources of family and kin. Here is an indelible western history with a new human face.
Francis D. Haines, The Buffalo: The Story of American Bison and Their Hunters from Prehistoric Times to the Present (University of Oklahoma Press, 1995), 13, 47, 66–68; Dan Flores, American Serengeti: The Last Big Animals of the Great ...
Author: Anne F. Hyde
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
It may be surprising to us now, but the taxidermists who filled the museums, zoos, and aquaria of the twentieth century were also among the first to become aware of the devastating effects of careless human interaction with the natural world. Witnessing firsthand the decimation caused by hide hunters, commercial feather collectors, whalers, big game hunters, and poachers, these museum taxidermists recognized the existential threat to critically endangered species and the urgent need to protect them. The compelling exhibits they created—as well as the scientific field work, popular writing, and lobbying they undertook—established a vital leadership role in the early conservation movement for American museums that persists to this day. Through their individual research expeditions and collective efforts to arouse demand for environmental protections, this remarkable cohort—including William T. Hornaday, Carl E. Akeley, and several lesser-known colleagues—created our popular understanding of the animal world and its fragile habitats. For generations of museum visitors, they turned the glass of an exhibition case into a window on nature—and a mirror in which to reflect on our responsibility for its conservation.
How Taxidermists Shaped America's Natural History Museums and Saved Endangered Species Mary Anne Andrei ... Dan Flores, American Serengeti: The Last Big Animals of the Great Plains (Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2016), 122–24.
Author: Mary Anne Andrei
Publisher: University of Chicago Press
In Grasslands Grown Molly P. Rozum explores the two related concepts of regional identity and sense of place by examining a single North American ecological region: the U.S. Great Plains and the Canadian Prairie Provinces. All or parts of modern-day Alberta, Montana, Saskatchewan, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Manitoba form the center of this transnational region. As children, the first postconquest generation of northern grasslands residents worked, played, and traveled with domestic and wild animals, which introduced them to ecology and shaped sense-of-place rhythms. As adults, members of this generation of settler society worked to adapt to the northern grasslands by practicing both agricultural diversification and environmental conservation. Rozum argues that environmental awareness, including its ecological and cultural aspects, is key to forming a sense of place and a regional identity. The two concepts overlap and reinforce each other: place is more local, ecological, and emotional-sensual, and region is more ideational, national, and geographic in tone. This captivating study examines the growth of place and regional identities as they took shape within generations and over the life cycle.
American Serengeti: The Last Big Animals of the Great Plains. Lawrence: University Press of Kansas, 2016. —. “Bison Ecology and Bison Diplomacy: The Southern Plains from 1800 to 1850.” Journal of American History 78 (1992): 465–85. —.
Author: Molly P. Rozum
Publisher: U of Nebraska Press