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The Destruction of the Bison: An Environmental History, 1750–1920



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Cambridge University Press
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The Destruction of the Bison explains the decline of the North American bison population from an estimated 30 million in 1800 to fewer than a thousand a century later. In this wide-ranging, interdisciplinary study, Andrew C. Isenberg argues that the cultural and ecological encounter between Native Americans and Euroamericans in the Great Plains was the central cause of the near-extinction of the bison. Cultural and ecological interactions created new types of bison hunters on both sides of the encounter: mounted Indian nomads and Euroamerican industrial hidemen. Together with environmental pressures these hunters nearly extinguished the bison. In the early twentieth century, nostalgia about the very cultural strife which first threatened the bison became, ironically, an important impetus to its preservation.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments xi
Introduction 1(12)
The Grassland Environment
The Genesis of the Nomads
The Nomadic Experiment
The Ascendancy of the Market
The Wild and the Tamed
The Returns of the Bison
Conclusion 193(6)
Index 199

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