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A Buffalo in the House: The True Story of a Man, an Animal, and the American West

3.77  ·  Rating Details  ·  194 Ratings  ·  54 Reviews
A sprawling suburban house in Santa Fe is not the kind of home where a buffalo normally roams, but Veryl Goodnight and Roger Brooks are not your ordinary animal lovers. Over a hundred years after Veryl’s ancestors, Charles and Mary Ann Goodnight, hand-raised two baby buffalo to help save the species from extinction, the sculptor and her husband adopt an orphaned buffalo ca ...more
Hardcover, 242 pages
Published June 5th 2007 by The New Press
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Nov 02, 2015 Daphne rated it really liked it
Shelves: quest
Ya - this book was pretty awesome as far as describing what it's like to live with a wild animal. I can't read the ones that are about dogs and wolves because it hits too close to home, and I end up crying like an idiot. I can handle raising a buffalo though.

There were some parts that reminded me a lot of the relationship Kiera and I shared. My chest did constrict, and there were tears. It's different living with a wild or partially wild animal, and a relationship that develops that one can nev
Jan 05, 2009 Beth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is far from a frivoulous book!(the buffalo did not actually live IN the house very long) It is an amazing story of the bond that can occurr between a human and an animal--perhaps the animal is unusual-or perhaps it would happen often with the kind of care that this human gave the animal. In any case, it is riveting, touching and emotionally trying..and the book gives an excellent history lesson about the species and time surrounding early settlement in the West. I am so glad I happened on i ...more
Sheri Struk
Sep 02, 2015 Sheri Struk rated it liked it
This book is a blending of the history of the buffalo in the United States, the Goodnight's family history of preserving the buffalo and the story of how a couple (the woman a Goodnight family member herself) raised a baby buffalo. While I found the book interesting, I especially liked the parts where Veryl Goodnight and Roger Brooks interact with their baby buffalo. Veryl Goodnight is an artist and had requested a baby buffalo for a sculpture she was planning on doing in memory of one of her Go ...more
Kimberly Ann
Feb 15, 2016 Kimberly Ann rated it liked it
Shelves: bison, buffalo
More than 100 years after Veryl Goodnight's ancestors hand raised two baby bison to help save the species from extinction, Veryl & her husband Roger Brooks adopt Charlie, an orphaned bison calf. This is the story of Charlie & Roger and how their relationship led to Roger's subsequent advocacy on behalf of the Yellowstone Bison (thousands which are mercilessly slaughtered every winter).

This was an interesting book which spans generations of Goodnights & their reintroduction of bison t
Aug 12, 2007 Allen rated it really liked it
As many of my friends know, the subject of buffalo/bison is something I deeply care about. I stumbled across this book at our public library in the new book section and almost did not pick it up, but now I am glad that I did.

This was actually a tough book to give a rating to because for most of the book I was frustrated. I appreciated the love and care this couple showed toward a young bison, but was troubled by raising him to be a largely a domesticated animal at their Santa Fe home. There are
Oct 09, 2008 Andrea rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I really, really, really wanted to like this book. Why? Because I LOVE animal books. Because I LOVE buffalo. Because these books are always heartwarming stories that make me laugh and cry.

However, this one just written in a way that captivated me, which is such a shame because the story of Charlie the buffalo really is incredible. Charlie was rescued when he was left behind by the herd, hand raised on a farm and bottle fed, acted like the family dog (until he got too big), and became a part of t
Oct 01, 2007 Lauri rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: Buffalo buffs (get it), animal lovers
Hmm. Well, I wanted to like this book a lot more than I did. This true story is incredible -- a couple adopts an orphaned buffalo calf and raises it like a family pet. At every turn, they seem to discover something that links them inextricably to reign of the buffalo, their eventual slaughter in the 1800s, and their precarious recovery.

Unfortunately, the writing style of the author left me less than enthusiastic. There we so many ways to imaginatively weave the two stories together -- the indiv
Sep 20, 2013 L rated it it was amazing
This was another suggestion from Joel at Landmark Booksellers when I was in TN, and my favorite title yet that I had sent home to TX. The lead character, Charlie the Buffalo, was abandoned when a herd moved along and was later adopted by Veryl Goodnight (relative of the famous Charlie Goodnight) and Roger Brooks. Veryl began by using Charlie as a model for one of her scupltures but eventually Charlie became a household pet, albeit a 2000 pound one. This book will make you laugh out loud (my favo ...more
Feb 24, 2016 Betsy rated it really liked it
Non-fiction, so this story does not have the narrative arc of a great novel. But as a true story, it is a compelling read that informs the reader well beyond the man and his buffalo. Several chapters wander into deeper historical narratives that give meaning to his relationship with his buffalo, Charlie.
Feb 06, 2010 Jean rated it it was ok
I found this book while looking for another piece of non fiction. It's an easy read--took me most of an afternoon. It's a sweet animal story about a childless couple who winds up adopting a baby buffalo. She is a well known sculptor who needs a calf for one of her projects. As we all know, babies grow and it's in dealing with that growth that we grow, adjust, and change with them. The book has a great deal of history regarding the buffalo, in general. I enjoyed learning more about them because w ...more
Jul 31, 2007 Zelda rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: animal lovers
This book is mostly about the experiences of a couple who adopt a deserted buffalo who is only a couple of days old. At first they are just borrowing the buffalo, who they name Charlie, to pose for a sculpture the wife, Veryl Goodnight, is planning. However the husband, Roger Brooks, becomes so attached to Charlie, they manage to keep him for good. Veryl was planning this particular sculpture to honor her great-great grandparents who single-handedly helped save the buffalos from extinction. It's ...more
Sep 03, 2014 Katrina rated it really liked it
Entertaining, informative, emotion evoking nonfiction. I enjoyed this book because I love 1) american western history, specifically about native Americans 2) animal stories and wildlife 3) Yellowstone, New Mexico, and western geography.
Jan 20, 2016 Kathleen rated it liked it
A quick read that provides a thoughtful history of the fate of the buffalo in the West, even as it tells the story of the relationship between an orphaned buffalo and the man who helped raise him. Very satisfying.
Mar 17, 2015 Melissa rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2015
I just had a feeling of dread through the entire book. You know that keeping a buffalo as a pet just can't end well, but it was an interesting story and I enjoyed learning about the historical perspective.
Nov 16, 2015 Roxanne rated it really liked it
I picked out this book because we still have buffalo where I live so I can see them. This man adopts a buffalo and raises it like a pet. What a concept.
Michael Smith
Nov 03, 2013 Michael Smith rated it it was amazing
Shelves: nonfiction
This is my kind of book. An inspiring true story of what seems to be a simply wonderful couple with tons of heart, and the baby bison they adopt to use as a live model for the wife's sculptures. Charlie the buffalo had me at hello. I fell in love with him like I would a sweet dog or cat. The author, Rosen, does an outstanding job of bringing these people and their rapidly growing pet to life. All of that, blended with many flashbacks to the actual history of the American bison make this one a tr ...more
Oct 04, 2011 Jessica rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Some generic info for those who know absolutely nothing about bison and a few interesting out-of-the-way tidbits but the writing is really basic - almost like it was being "dumbed-down" for a juvenile or young adult audience (always a mistake, too - those younguns' are SMART!). I was SHOCKED to see how much genuine literature and journalism the author has done in the past - this feels so much like a book written by a passionate non-writer. Would not necessarily recommend to anyone looking for a ...more
Apr 12, 2008 Sarah rated it liked it
The buffalo's owner Roger got a call from a ranch worker Jimmy saying that Jimmy was on top of his pickup and the buffalo was attacking his truck!! Here is a funny excerpt to entice you to read this book:

"As humiliating as is must have been for a cowboy to be "treed" on top of his own truck by the worlds tamest buffalo, it had to be even more galling to be standing on top of your won truck with a buffalo snorting at you form below while a middle-aged couple hand-fed him baby carrots and then thr
Sep 02, 2008 Jenny.p rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Just about everyone
This is one of the best books I have read in a while. I expected a smart, funny story of a buffalo who doesn't know that he is a buffalo that comes into the lives of a Santa Fe couple. I didn't expect it to be such an important offering to the history of the American West or current issues that continue to plague buffalo populations today. These are not things I expected to care about, but Rosen is just so witty, hilarious and just so damn likable, it is impossible not to connect with this story ...more
Nov 06, 2007 Jane rated it liked it
Recommends it for: those who like books about the American west and about human animal relationships.
Shelves: adult
Much of the Natice American's way of life was destoyed when white men came west and annihialated the vast buffalo herds of the American plains. This book tells the story of one orphaned bison Charlie and a man, Roger Brooks who tries to handrear the baby bison. Because of Roger's exceptional connection to Charlie he is started a personal campaign to protect the wild bison herds in and around Yellowstone National Park.
Feb 09, 2008 Jennifer rated it really liked it
As an animal lover, I loved reading about the relationship between a human and a buffalo. Although some of the history of buffalos was interesting, sometimes it became a little boring and drawn out. I wasn't aware of the buffalo endangerment, and I think the author did a good job trying to get the preservation of the buffalos recognized. I enjoyed this book.
Alec O'Neill
Dec 05, 2008 Alec O'Neill rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Everyone. It goes by fast.
Four stars for the subject-matter. Considering I plan on dedicating my life to increasing awareness on Buffalo, I'm always down for a good Bison book.

And this story is a good introduction to the plight of the Buffalo, a native symbol of America. The people profiled though...well let's just say they probably wear those airbrushed horsey shirts.
Apr 06, 2011 Lois rated it really liked it
A woman wanted to sculpt a bison calf in honor of an ancestor who preserved a small herd that has become instrumental in keeping this native American animal from extinction. Her model becomes a family pet, and Rosen has a good platform for working in the history of bison and suggestions for what we
can do to secure its history.
Sep 06, 2008 Susan rated it liked it
For those that feel a connection to animals, you will love the relationship between Charlie, the buffalo, and his human friend, Roger. I enjoyed that tender part of the story and found the history of the massacre of buffalo and their current status informative and educational. Though not one of my top books, it was an enjoyable jaunt.
Jun 23, 2008 Catherine rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Animal Lovers
This little book tells the story of not only a truly unique relationship between man and buffalo, but also covers a considerable amount of history on the American buffalo, and also, how that bond is closely intertwined with Native American history. I would definitely recommend this book to animal lovers but also American history buffs.
Oct 19, 2008 Lisa rated it really liked it
This is a heartbreaking story--my only criticism is that I wish it had been longer as I would like to know more. It is partially the story of Charlie, a gentle giant who was loved by his human caretakers, and partially the history of the buffalo/bison and their slaughter by the U.S. government, which continues to this day.
Apr 03, 2009 Emily rated it it was ok
I got this book as a gift because it's well-known that buffalo are my favorite animals. I'm not sure why I couldn't get very far through it-- because reading about the buffalo's near-brush with extinction at the beginning was too traumatic for me, or if people that live with a buffalo really isn't a very exciting topic.
Jun 08, 2010 Jessie rated it it was ok
I wish there were half-stars on this, because this deserves 2 1/2, or maybe 2 3/4. This book is okay, I actually really liked it at times, but in the end I found it to wander around way too much, and it seemed to have too much of an agenda in always talking about the "generous gift" of Charles Goodnight.
Feb 12, 2009 Daniel is currently reading it
Intriguing. Interesting. I learned about the threat to Yellowstone buffalo herds from fanatically paranoid Montana ranchers; about buffalo personalities and needs; about the history of buffalo rescue; and about the vast original range of buffalos--in all but five states.
Sep 23, 2008 Jenny rated it did not like it
Couldn't read this. I thought there was too much history of the American Indian, and this was not why I was reading this book. I wanted to "feel good" book and story about the buffalo that they adopted, but I got bored fast, put it down, and never picked it up again.
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Mr. Rosen is an author whose books include ''Strike Three You're Dead'' in 1984, which won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America. He is working on a novel titled ''Saturday Night Dead'' for Viking. He attended Brown University and graduated from Harvard College.

R. D. Rosen’s writing career spans mystery novels, narrative nonfiction, humor books, and television. Strike Three You’re De
More about R.D. Rosen...

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