Great Plains Book of the Month

Each month the Center for Great Plains Studies features one book as its "Great Plains Book of the Month." We carefully choose books that are accessible and on topics of interest and importance for our region. They may be on any subject, of any genre, published within the last couple of years; occasionally we may feature a book published by or written at the Center. Mainly we want to bring attention to what we consider exceptional works both to learn from and enjoy.

August Book of the Month

Theodore Roosevelt & Bison Restoration on the Great Plains

By Keith Aune and Glenn Plumb

Details: Natural History, U.S. history, Plains Indians

Publisher: The History Press (a division of Arcadia Publishing SC), 2019

In 1858, bison on the Great Plains were about 20 per square mile. By 1900, bison were on the brink of extinction. Honorary president of the American Bison Society, Theodore Roosevelt was outraged at the unrestrained exploitation of bison for commercial purposes, much of that related to unjustified actions toward American Indians. Roosevelt started a restoration plan that was unlike any during this period. Theodore Roosevelt & Bison Restoration on the Great Plains details Roosevelt's conservation legacy and the work of many others. Roosevelt used his authority to protect wildlife and public lands by creating the United States Forest Service, establishing 150 national forests, 51 federal bird reserves, 4 national game preserves, 5 national parks, and 18 national monuments. He was responsible shipping bison out west in an effort to repopulate the Great Plains from which the bison had been decimated, sending Bison to Oklahoma, South Dakota, and Montana. Aune & Plumb describe how the Bison survived through the partnership of federal, state, and local governments, along with the Blackfeet Nation, the Lakota Nation, and others who wanted to save this iconic animal of the Plains.

“Aune and Plumb provide a concise yet descriptive history of the American bison and the dedicated conservationists, with President Theodore Roosevelt as the central figure, determined to save it from extinction…To give readers a sense of the enormity of this loss, the authors note that during the height of the bison slaughter, the equivalent of two animals were killed every minute of every day for 40 years.”

—Pat Thomas, Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx Zoo

Theodore Roosevelt & Bison Restoration on the Great Plains

Past Great Plains Books of the Month:

American Serengeti: The Last Big Animals of the Great Plains, Dan Flores

A Chorus of Cranes: The Cranes of North America and the World, Paul Johnsgard

Encounter on the Great Plains: Scandinavian Settlers and the Dispossession of Dakota Indians, 1890-1930, Karen Hansen

Wild Again: The Struggle to Save the Black-Footed Ferret, David Jachowski

A Warrior of the People: How Susan La Flesche Overcame Racial and Gender Inequality to Become America's First Indian Doctor, Joe Starita

Natives of a Dry Place: Stories of Dakota Before the Oil Boom, Richard Edwards

Towards a Prairie Atonement, Trevor Herriot

Walking the Llano, Shelley Armitage

Barnstorming the Prairie, Jason Weems

Homesteading the PlainsRichard Edwards, Rebecca Wingo, Jacob Friefeld

Nebraska Poetry: A Sesquicentennial Anthology 1867-2017, Edited by Daniel Simon

This Blessed Earth: A Year in the Life of an American Family Farm, Ted Genoways

Grasses of the Great Plains, By James Stubbendieck, Stephan L. Hatch, Cheryl D. Dunn

The Personal History of Rachel DuPree, Ann Weisgarber

The Trans-Mississippi and International Expositions of 1898–1899: Art, Anthropology, and Popular Culture at the Fin de Siècle by Wendy Katz

Jewels of the Plains: Wildflowers of the Great Plains Grasslands and Hills by Claude Barr and James Locklear