"The author ... has written an amazingly thorough book. There is literally everything here--from the first efforts to save the buffalo to the story of Stanley Kramer's Bless the Beasts and the Children. Dary even includes a list of every single buffalo herd left today, as well as instructions on how to raise them and even buffalo rescue."
Cleveland Amory, Chicago Tribune
"This definitive book ... offers a lively and readable wealth of material on the buffalo's origins and habits, the animal's importance to both Indians and whites, attempts at domestication and the buffalo's rescue from extinction by a number of determined people. Inevitably, there are yarns about individual buffaloes--all tops for fascination."
The journals and memoirs of 19th century explorers and travelers in the American West often told of viewing buffalo massed together as far as the eye could see. This book appropriately covers the subject of the buffalo as extensively as that animal covered the plains. Other recent accounts of the buffalo have focused on two or three aspects, emphasizing its natural history, the hunters and the hunted in prehistoric time, the relationship between the buffalo and the American Indian. David Dary's treatment stretches from horizon to horizon. Of course he discusses the origin of the buffalo in North America, its locations and migrations, its habits, its significance and role in both Indian and white cultures, its near demise, its salvation. But more. Dary weaves throughout his fact-filled book fascinating threads of lore and legend of this animal that literally helped mold who and what America is. Further, in addition to detailing the extinction which almost befell this mythic beast and the attempts to give life again to the herds, Dary concentrates significant attention on the buffalo as part of 20th century America in terms of captivity, husbandry, and symbol.
The Buffalo Book rounds up all the contemporary buffalo. Dary has located just about every single buffalo alive today in the United States. He has visited or corresponded with everyone who raises a private or government herd, small or large. He maps their location, size, purpose, future. There are even some instructions about how to raise buffalo if one is so inclined. For the gourmet The Buffalo Book provides a number of recipes, such as Sweetgrass Buffalo and Beer Pie or Buffalo Tips a la Bourgogne. From the buffalo nickel to Wyoming's state flag, from The University of Colorado's mascot to Indiana's state seal, we picture and use the buffalo in hundreds of ways; Dary surveys the 19th and 20th century symbol adaptation of the animal.
David A. Dary is Professor of Journalism and Director of the H. H. Herbert School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of Oklahoma Norman.
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