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American Poems: Books: The Last Prairie: A Sandhills Journal
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 Home » Books » The Last Prairie: A Sandhills Journal

The Last Prairie: A Sandhills Journal

  • List Price: $18.95
  • Buy New: $11.18
  • as of 8/1/2014 00:19 EDT details
  • You Save: $7.77 (41%)
In Stock
New (29) Used (30) from $1.15
  • Seller:SuperBookDeals-
  • Sales Rank:891,335
  • Languages:English (Unknown), English (Original Language), English (Published)
  • Media:Paperback
  • Number Of Items:1
  • Edition:1
  • Pages:244
  • Shipping Weight (lbs):0.6
  • Dimensions (in):8.7 x 5.5 x 0.4
  • Publication Date:March 1, 2006
  • ISBN:0803276303
  • EAN:9780803276307
  • ASIN:0803276303
Availability:Usually ships in 1-2 business days

Features:
  • Used Book in Good Condition


Editorial Reviews:
Synopsis
The Nebraska Sandhills are the largest remaining relic of the majestic prairies that once extended from the Missouri River to the Rocky Mountains. This vast but fragile expanse comes to life in The Last Prairie, a collection of twenty essays by Stephen R. Jones ranging from fascinating descriptions of dancing prairie-chickens, courting fireflies, and the annual migratory flight of a half-million sandhill cranes to equally vivid accounts of trailblazing homesteaders, range wars, and devastating storms. The Last Prairie is both a paean and an elegy for a place where you can walk for miles through shoulder-high grass or sit on a hill for hours with only the cry of the curlew and the hiss of the wind for company—a place Jones sought for decades and for whose survival he now fears.

The author's vast historical canvas lends a rare perspective and urgency to the book's discussion of recent efforts to save the Niobrara River from dams and developers. Jones speaks eloquently to such timeless themes as humanity's search for community and the ties that bind us with nature. Infused with quiet pathos and vibrant imagery, The Last Prairie is a triumph of the essayist's art.

Amazon.com Review
Running 100 miles from north to south and 200 miles from east to west, the Sandhills make up about a quarter of the state of Nebraska and constitute the largest grass-stabilized dune field in the Western Hemisphere. Sparsely settled, the region has inspired a fine literature, numbering books by Jim Harrison, Mari Sandoz, and Merrill Gilfillan, among other writers.

Stephen Jones's The Last Prairie is a welcome, elegant addition to that library. An inspired blend of science, natural history, ethnography, and memoir, it recounts Jones's travels along the Niobrara River and deep into the heart of dune country--once the province of buffalo, cranes, and scattered bands of Pawnee and Cheyenne Native Americans, now the site of huge ranches and, as Jones notes, an army of white-tailed deer and other former denizens of wetland forests that edged out onto the plains with the disappearance of large predators. "When it comes to ecosystem disturbances," Jones notes, "the white-tailed deer are just the tip of the iceberg," and indeed the Sandhills are threatened at every turn by industrial agriculture and other manifestations of putative progress. Jones considers some of the programs that have been advanced to save the area, including the apparently ill-advised "Buffalo Commons" preserve that residents fear would make the region an unnatural zoo; he suggests instead a more modest prairie preserve that would attract tourists and provide new revenue for the region's residents, now dependent on ecologically destructive ranching.

But Jones's book is less a program for action than a literate, attractive celebration of a place unlike any other--a book that will inspire readers to go and have a look for themselves. --Gregory McNamee


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