American Buffalo by Steven Rinella

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American Buffalo by Steven Rinella is an intriguing narrative about the author’s journey to investigate the buffalo and its history. The history of the buffalo is not well understood. The book was well constructed; Rinella puts various bouts of humor into his adventure in Alaska, while still making the volume factual and engaging. The plot, however, got repetitive. There were only so many times that he could follow uninhabited buffalo trails. The one time he does find a buffalo; he shoots it and skins it. He is kind of attached to buffalo and when he killed one, he felt “somewhat guilty”. The buffalo had life just like he did, and he took it away. Up until that, he pretty much walks across a river about seven times.

The depths that Rinella goes to in order to explore the history of the buffalo in the USA and Canada are astounding. He pays over a thousand dollars to carbon date a piece of bone he found in order to determine if he has a rare bone, but he didn’t, and he saw it as a waste of money.

I believe the author’s intention in retelling his adventure is to entertain his readers while still providing accurate information and teaching the audience as well. While slow in some parts, others had you reading for an hour or two at a time. This story follows a chronological pattern as it tells the happenings of about a seven month period. This novel is an account where if you have experienced something like hunting in alaska or camping for a month, you really enjoy the tale, but it’s lost on us that haven’t.

There was only one fallacy that i notice, because the book was mainly historical fact. This was the complex cause fallacy. The humans hunting the buffalo is described as the cause of drop in the species population, when in reality, the climate change, illness, and other natural causes like predators such as wolves played their part. This nonfiction piece was well written and was somewhat humorous, but also had too many facts and not enough entertaining material. I would recommend this as a must read for people wanting to learn, but definitely not to readers looking for a cool, fun adventure.





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