7th out of 46 books — 5 voters
Grassland: The History, Biology, Politics and Promise of the American Prairie
More than forty percent of our country was once open prairie, grassland that extended from Missouri to Montana. Taking a critical look at this little-understood biome, award-winning journalist Richard Manning urges the reclamation of this land, showing how the grass is not only our last connection to the natural world, but also a vital link to our own prehistoric roots, ou...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published July 1st 1997 by Penguin Books
(first published September 1st 1995)
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Sea of Grass
Great nonfiction books about the settlement of the Great Plains
4th out of 7 books — 5 voters
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Another good book about grasslands and the Prairie, though less poetic and less humorous than Ian Frazier's Great Plains. However, the book had a stronger political position than Frazier's or other books about the Plains I've read so far. And that position argued for an appreciation of nomadic lives (often inspired, if not dictacted, by the terrain of grasslands). Furthermore, Manning celebrates the spreading of the grasslands (as they are supposed to in the Plains region) in opposition to the J...more
Mar 20, 2013 Adam Kranz rated it 5 of 5 stars
I first came across Richard Manning when Against the Grain: How Agriculture Has Hijacked Civilization jumped out at me from the "agriculture is bad" section of the Mudd's wonderful third floor. Manning makes the "agriculture is bad" argument deftly in that book, covering each aspect thoroughly but quickly, with a deep understanding of his sources, and he provided me with probably the best reading list I've found in a single book. I knew there was something special about him then, but I didn't fo...more
I read this book as an assignment in a class I am taking at JCCC called ‘Natural History of Kansas.’ The book is a manifesto by Richard Manning that chronicles the demise of the grasslands that once covered much of the central USA. Less than 4% of the grassland that once covered the land still exists today. Manning transitions his story by following a Bull Elks 1800 mile graze from the Sweet Grass Hills of Montana down the Missouri River to Independence Missouri. The travels are believed to be m...more
One of my favorite books on agriculture so far. This book is a hard read, in that it is LOADED with historical facts in between the philosophical and poetic preaching of Richard Manning. Just when you start to get a flow or pace going, he slaps you in the face with a different era or a different civilization to learn about. Very intelligent, almost too much for such a simple title. But I give it five stars because it's facts are entertaining and though it is a one sided book, it's worth the read...more
This book sat on my shelf for nearly a decade and I am so glad I finally cracked it. Manning explores North America's most misunderstood, maligned and ravaged ecosystem by turns, starting with long (geologic) and then short (after people arrived) history and how the humans who lived in the prairie regions have irrevocably transformed it by the way they've chosen to live there, starting with (possibly) the extinction of the woolly mammoths and other large predatory game around the time the glacie...more
Meh. I can't say much since I only got 60 or so pages through this before it was due, and I am really not interested in whatever else Manning eventually covers in the book. Up to where I read this book is written very much like how I would expect a journalist to write book: interesting ideas not terribly well researched with a peppering of sketches of the diverse types of people living in the Western U.S. prairie. This book may be nominally interesting to those totally unfamiliar with Western U....more
A most interesting piece on the prairie. Manning believes that the Eastern yeoman farmers, coming as they did from a place dominated by trees, never understood the place. Of course, generally speaking, people have often understood too little too late about their environments...