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That Wild Country: An Epic Journey through the Past, Present, and Future of America's Public Lands

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  216 ratings  ·  33 reviews

From prominent outdoorsman and nature writer Mark Kenyon comes an engrossing reflection on the past and future battles over our most revered landscapes—America’s public lands.

Every American is a public-land owner, inheritor to the largest public-land trust in the world. These vast expanses provide a home to wildlife populations, a vital source of clean air and water, and

Kindle Edition, 277 pages
Published December 1st 2019 by Little A
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Dee Arr
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: history, biography
Years ago, I was fortunate to be on an overseas trip, visiting friends and taking in the sights of England and Scotland. I marveled at the age of buildings sometimes twice as old as the settlement site in Jamestown, sadly thinking that we didn’t have anything like that in America.

How wrong I was.

It is the natural wonders of the world that are there for us to enjoy, and Mark Kenyon’s book offers a mixture of details that is sure interest everyone. If history is your passion, Mr. Kenyon takes us
Carol Holdcraft
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This historic overview of our national public lands was a great read.

As a seventy year old female nature lover and birder, I was unsure if I would relate to this young hunter and fisherman's story. But one chapter into it I was hooked!
He vividly describes his journeys into some well known as well as lesser known sites. Then he weaves in the history of how those places became publicly owned and preserved. He brings together the political battles and challenges in a meaningful way.
Every person who
Nov 15, 2019 marked it as did-not-finish
DNF at page 89 (plus some skipping around). Just too much travelogue and not enough public land information.

Kenyon, a hunter and outdoor enthusiast from Michigan, argues in support of federally-owned ("public") lands. Unfortunately, he seems to lump anyone who doesn't espouse his view in with Cliven Bundy and his radical followers, without delving into what most Westerners actually think. Growing up in Utah, I heard the arguments from both sides. Most do not disagree with protecting land but
Schuyler Wallace

I suspect that when Mark Kenyon began writing his ode to the great outdoors, “That Wild Country,” he expected to arouse controversy. He did. Those who abhor hunting and fishing or the effort required to enjoy rugged outdoors activity, and dedicated, sometimes pompous, vegans, pooled their self-serving mini-minds to excoriate him for being a meat eater and a hunter. They claim he “hypocritically” writes praise for both the beautiful country and the animals he loves. Can there not be a passion
Kirsten Cutler
Nov 15, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow! This is a wonderful book extolling the beauty of our public lands, and advocating passionately for all of us to protect our incredible heritage, so carefully preserved over more than a century. It is filled with detail about the evolution of the Public Lands preservation movement, and the current horrific assault by some rapacious corporations and politicians to privatize, exploit, and to sell to developers our incredible natural legacy. The author is an avid outdoorsman, a hunter of meat ...more
Laurie Blacker
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I’m a kindred soul when it comes to protecting and enjoying our public lands. Mark Kenyon - a fellow Michigander - alternated between visiting wild places and telling the story of how these lands were protected in the first place, as well as what we need to do to keep them safe and unspoiled. Wonderful book, I highly recommend it.
Nov 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An informative and soul-grabbing account of our public land

I love the outdoors; but wouldn’t have called myself a conservationist before, but I am now. The author has grabbed and pulled me into his cause. The history of the fight is interesting, and the on-going battle is so important. I am in!
Whistlers Mom
Nov 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The fight to save the wild places has been a wild ride, and it's not over yet!

In the "Friendly Persuasion," there's a touching scene where the ageing Quaker farmer looks around at his Indiana farm, his children and grandchildren, and asks his wife in bewilderment, "How did it all happen, Eliza? How did we all get here?" It's a question every thoughtful person asks sooner or later.

For this author - a Michigan native, a Google-employee-turned-outdoor-writer, and an active hiker, fisherman, and
Laurie Rolnick
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Save our public lands!

An important, well researched and well written book. I am hoping millions will take up the call to action and continue the fight for our wild public spaces.
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Clear and concise up to the moment history and defense of public lands in the US by a hunter/fisherman/environmentalist. The author recognizes the ongoing war against our public lands by a small number of representatives of private extractive industries. "...ceding wild places to industry would strip America of its natural resources, and leave it a shell of a country, no longer self-sufficient and prosperous." The author tacks back and forth between his own adventures and explorations of public ...more
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
As a result of being both an informative book on the history of public lands and a personal travelogue, this book felt excessively long. The constant switching between the two meant the stories were told side by side, and I'm not sure how else you would do this, but it felt a bit jarring at times. Just as I got invested in some RV hijinks, it'd switch back to history. Then just as I got invested in hearing about how this beautiful public lands have been politicized, back to anecdotes about a ...more
Dec 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little bit too much of a travel log, but a good book non-the-less. The history of our public land is interesting in & of itself. It is an important topic, and too few understand the great gift we have in public lands. I think Mark makes a good point.

“ I had taken something from the land, as we all do when venturing out into our nation’s shared landscape. Whether harvesting an animal or stringing a rope along a rock face, catching a fish or slashing a muddy bike track down a slope, we all
Catherine Nelson
Nov 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing

The ability to describe and connect me to these wild and wonderful places makes me want to pack up and go. It reminded me of my own adventures, the calm and contentment the self efficiency the wonder and awe inspired by the wild beauty the feeling of responsibility to "leave only footprints behind" the feeling of accomplishment arriving exhausted and sore to my next destination . The lessons learned on the trail have helped me in so many aspects of my life. Even more importantly however
D. E.
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
An MK. Non Fiction Western Action Adventure (TWC) (AEJTTP, P, and FOAPL)

MK. has Penned a modern expose about the public lands owned by the taxpayer. These lands are our national parks, land reserves, important rivers !and other famous land sites. He covers the history, or if you prefer, the development and ownership of these lands owned by American citizens. If you are a hunter or fisherman this book will explain how things were formed for your use today. If you are a novice this book will
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A GEM. Well written, intertwined with history and vigorous adventure

A moving and important read which captures the essence of the public land story, which is an significant issue for future generations. This first novel is remarkable in many ways, descriptive, informative, passionate, and experiential. Anyone who loves the wilderness should own this with the caveat of, must share with others. It very well may fire up the passion for others to explore the treasures of our public lands.
Marie Beach
Dec 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Very insightful book. Easy to read. Good education on our Public Lands how they came into existence and how they are slowly being taken away from us, "The Public". How our politicians try to mislead us into thinking that by taking the PL away from the Federal Government we win. NOT. Required reading for anyone who has ever enjoyed a visit to 1 of our National Parks, walked along a seashore or taken a hike, biked, fished, hunted, swam, sailed, used an ATV on our Public Land.
Beware, you may not be
Nov 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just finished That Wild Country in one sitting. I order second book to give for a Christmas present. It is an up to date history of our public lands. It tells the wonderful story of the events and people that set these lands aside for us and our children. I love the southwest and have enjoyed the parks and rivers thru out the United States. They are under increasing pressure to be used by special interest. It was wonderful to know the groups and organizations that are fighting to protect them ...more
Dec 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
While I loved the overall message and learned quite a bit from the history of our public lands, the style of writing was hard to follow. There was a bit too much jumping back and forth between his travels and the history which made it hard to really get into. It also seemed like there was some repetition in the information shared - almost like the chapters had first been drafted as blogs or something separate and then were put together without much consideration to flow or what had already been ...more
Herman  Morgan III
Nov 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It spoke to my heart.

As someone who grew up with 40 acres of woods in our family's back yard, I have always found my spirit, and soothed my soul in nature's haven.
I knew a good bit about the birth and growth of our National Parks, and Public Lands, but I learned a lot from Mr Kenyon's excellent book.
I highly recommend the book for any outdoors person, and especially younger people who want to widen their knowledge and appreciation of Our precious Gift from our ancestors, and from the Creator.
Miriam Zuo
Kenyon is clearly deeply passionate and knowledgeable about public lands. Unlike some of the other reviewers, I enjoyed the 'travelogue' sections, especially the scenery descriptions; I think they bring a lot of appeal to readers who aren't necessarily outdoorsy/sportspeople. I found this book informational and well-structured, though I also did at times wish it progressed a bit quicker. That said, it was an enjoyable read and I learned a lot about a topic that I'm normally not very tuned in to.
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book was very well written and made you feel like you were in the book on the public lands with him. It was very descriptive and I really enjoyed the wildlife parts. He makes the important point that we need to fight for our public lands through social media etc. or they will be given back to the states or sold to private interests or just exploited for timber etc. Our public lands are important for our nation.
shari lee
Nov 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
If only everyone knew what treasure we own

I have been a casual outdoor individual for most of my 77 year life first as a cub then boy and then explorer scout. I have pursued a camping vacation lifestyle with my wife and give children and greatly enjoyed our many National parks. I have taken them for granted. Mark's book tells me I must become more proactive and I will do so by engaging more with my elected officials.
Nov 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Mark Kenyon did an excellent job of weaving his personal stories with the history of public lands and the at of losing this precious resource. He explains that the country used to have bipartisan support for our public lands, but now it is very partisan, even though both sides of the aisle greatly benefit from having them. We need to do a better job at reminding the conservatives that this land is for all of us, hunters and hikers, four-wheelers and photographers, ornithologists and fishermen.
Jill R
Dec 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great read, really drives home what it means to be a public land owner!

I read this for kicks. I had no idea that it would fire me up to protect our public lands. Kenyon does a good job explaining the history and spirit of public lands while exposing the hypocrisy, greed, and shortsightedness of those threatening them. Read at your own risk!
Kellie Allen
Nov 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Enlightening Endeavor!!!

I am so very glad to have crossed paths with you and your book. You have turned a spark in me into a bonfire! I now have a mission!!! My wife and I started on a journey last year to visit all the National Parks. Been to Alaska. U.S. Virgin Islands. Going West next summer. R.V. Trip!!!! Thank You! Good luck Mark.
Nov 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
What an impressive first book by Mark Kenyon! And the topic of our national public lands is such an important issue. Mark mixes historical events and information with current trends and concerns in an easy to read/grasp writing style. A must read for anyone who wants to know more about our national park system and wilderness areas and how these lands are currently being threatened.
Jim Ward
Nov 30, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Wilderness matters

As a lover of National Parks and mountainous, empty spaces, I learned the history of great men, from the Roosevelt's to Barak Obama to Yvon Chouinard and Jimmy Carter, from John Muir to Morris Udall who have worked to preserve public lands for us all. We must continue the fight, lest these precious places are taken away.
Nov 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Inspiring and Awe READ THIS BOOK

I have no words to adequately describe how much this short book has affected me. My biggest contribution to this positive review is I have purchased 3 for presents and encouraged 5 people who have also purchased multiple books.
Jason S Barron
Nov 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Great read

Mark Kenyon's passion is infectious. Not only is this a great read, it is also an inspiring reminder of why it is so important for outdoors men and women prevent the loss of our nation's greatest treasure. Our public lands!
Nov 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Very informative

Enjoyable reading and terrific subject. Anyone that loves the USA and it's pristine wilderness will identify with the descriptions and picturesque beauty written about in this book. Well done!
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