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The Destruction of the Bison


  • 7 b/w illus. 2 maps 1 table
  • Page extent: 220 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.5 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 333.95/9643/0978
  • Dewey version: 21
  • LC Classification: QL737.U53 I834 2000
  • LC Subject headings:
    • American bison
    • American bison hunting--History
    • Nature--Effect of human beings on--North America

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521771726 | ISBN-10: 0521771722)

The Destruction of the Bison, first published in 2000, 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.

• The first book-length study of the bison by an environmental historian • Surveys both ecological and social causes of the destruction of the bison • Covers the entire history of the bison, from the mid-18th century to the early 20th century


1. The grassland environment; 2. The genesis of the Nomads; 3. The Nomadic experiment; 4. The ascendancy of the market; 5. The wild and the tamed; 6. The return of the bison.


'This case study of extinction and the preservation of a species will have a wide appeal.' Library Journal

'Andrew Isenberg's The Destruction of the Bison … a fascinating tale not least that of the bison's last-minute preservation.' New Scientist

'To be filed in this month's don't-judge-a-book-by-its-title category … [Isenberg's] impassioned first book is much more than an ecological history of American wildlife.' Publisher's Weekly

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