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LIST: Our Recommended Reading (Part 1)

The following list is an introduction to American Prairie’s favorite books that are closely related to our project. They are the must-reads on ranching, wildlife, and sociological issues, from bison behavior to homesteading life. 

Thanks to help from our Facebook and Twitter fans, we’ve also compiled a larger list of nature, conservation, and history reading for adults and children on Pinterest.


American Bison: A Natural History, Dale Lott

Dale was a significant advisor to APR and a member of our Advisory Council. His book is the result of a lifetime of study. “Written with unusual grace and verve, American Bison takes us on a journey into the bison’s past and shares a compelling vision for its future, offering along the way a valuable introduction to North American prairie ecology.”

Bison: Monarch of the Plains, Linda Hasselstrom and David Fitzgerald

More than any other animal, the bison symbolizes the American West. David Fitzgerald’s stunning photos and Linda Hasselstrom’s moving text present this awesome beast in its ancient and contemporary grandeur. 

Breaking Clean, Judy Blunt

Judy Blunt’s memoir tells the story of growing up literally in our project area. She brings to light the reality of life on a ranch in the 20th century: the isolation, the difficulties, and the joys. 

Buffalo for the Broken Heart: Restoring Life to a Black Hills Ranch, Dan O’Brien

Dan O’Brien chronicles the transition of his ranch, Broken Heart, from cattle ranching to bison ranching. He fluidly ties in history of the Black Hills and ranching, and tells how the restoration of bison to the land brought about a transition in his own life as well. 

Last Stand, Michael Punke

“Last Stand is a page-turner… I rushed to get through the nail-biting chapters that detail the efforts of Yellowstone’s rangers to prevent poachers from killing the few remaining wild buffalo while they waited for political support from Washington… This is great stuff… the book offers an inspiring message about the possibilities for conservation that can still exist even after all hope seems lost, as long as a few passionate individuals persevere until the general public is swayed.” (

The Natural West: Environmental History in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains, Dan Flores

“In The Natural West, Dan Flores asserts that Western environmental history cannot be explained by examining place, culture, or policy alone, but should be understood within the context of a universal human nature. 

Wolf Tracks On The Welcome Mat, Paul Zarzyski

“Books like this are the reason poetry exists.” (Ed McClanhan, The Natural Man)