American Buffalo in search of a lost icon by Steven Rinella

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American Buffalo is an enlightening tale of America’s most iconic beast. We follow author Steven Rinella’s Journey to unlock the truth about buffalo. He seamlessly mends past present and future into an interesting narrative that spans countless generations. His journey into the Alaskan wilderness leaps into the buffalo’s historic and biologic past, as well as its mysterious future. The story is structured to follow Rinella’s buffalo hunt but integrates flashbacks to his previous experiences as well as historical references to further our understanding of the animal he is dealing with. I really enjoy his perspective and how facts explain phenomena that occur throughout the book. The book has a certain rhythm to it and as the story slowly unfolds, you almost look forward to the flashback or history lesson every few pages. What makes the story interesting is the sheer attention to detail and care put in to knowing that we will understand any event that occurs or any jargon included in the story. That being said, it almost felt just a bit too factual in the sense that the story is chopped apart by wordy sections explaining how a certain trait evolved or why the bison survived the end of the Pleistocene. Overall, the structure of the writing complimented the plot and improved my understanding making this book very satisfying and enjoyable to read.

The book touches many feelings as it progresses. Pride, shame, remorse, these feelings and more express the book’s themes. The book is clearly written to explain the history of the buffalo and to highlight its strengths and incredible beauty. The inclusion of a story to give the book a linear path really helps to keep it entertaining as well as accent the main idea. Although the story of Steven’s hunt steals the show while reading, looking back, I forget some plot details but interesting tales of buffalo, Paleo-Indians and hide hunters are clear and add to the main idea and theme. A theme reiterated throughout the book is that people have forgotten the sacred origins of the buffalo and the courage, will and determination necessary for a buffalo hunt. Buffalo have come to represent America and many people seem to forget that. With this fine work Rinella seeks to return the buffalo to their former glory and recapture the American spirit that many have forgotten





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