In the last three decades of the 19th century, an American buffalo herd once numbering 30 million animals was reduced to 23. It was the era of Manifest Destiny, a gilded age that viewed the West as nothing more than a treasure chest of resources to be dug up or shot down. Supporting hide hunters was the US Army, which considered the eradication of the buffalo essential to victory in its ongoing war on Native Americans.
Into that maelstrom rode young George Bird Grinnell. A scientist and a journalist, a hunter and a conservationist, Grinnell would lead the battle to save the buffalo from extinction. Fighting in the pages of magazines, in Washington's halls of power, and in the frozen valleys of Yellowstone, Grinnell and his allies sought to preserve an icon. Grinnell shared his adventures with some of the greatest and most infamous characters of the American West - from John James Audubon and Buffalo Bill to George Armstrong Custer and Theodore Roosevelt.
Last Stand is a strikingly contemporary story: The saga of Grinnell and the buffalo was the first national battle over the environment. Grinnell's legacy includes the birth of the conservation movement as a potent political force.
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Depressing history of American tragedy
Depressing, essential, thorough.
The most memorable moments of The Last Stand, in my opinion, are the accounts of the slaughter for commercial and political gain and the accounts of the efforts to protect the Yellowstone bison.
My favorite scene was the capture of poacher Howell in Yellowstone.
It's difficult to pick one single moment. What I will say is that my nine-year old was moved to tears by the description of the slaughter of the bison.
If I could go back, I would not yet let my nine-year old listen to this book. It is incredibly depressing and angering to listen to.
- J. A. Bowen