304 pages, illustrations
The Natural West offers essays reflecting the natural history of the American West as written by one of its most respected environmental historians. Developing a provocative theme, Dan Flores asserts that Western environmental history cannot be explained by examining place, culture, or policy alone, but should be understood within the context of a universal human nature.
The Natural West entertains the notion that we all have a biological nature that helps explain some of our attitudes towards the environment. Flores also explains the ways in which various cultures – including the Comanches, New Mexico Hispanos, Mormons, Texans, and Montanans – interact with the environment of the West.
Gracefully moving between the personal and the objective, Flores intersperses his writings with literature, scientific theory, and personal reflection. The topics cover a wide range – from historical human nature regarding animals and exploration, to the environmental histories of particular Western bioregions, and finally, to Western restoration as the great environmental theme of the twenty-first century.
"The Natural West brings together some very fine essays that display the talents and intelligence that have made Dan Flores one of the most respected environmental historians of his generation. Flores gives us a thoughtful tour of a West that is troubled but resilient, and he encourages us to see this very old country with new eyes."
– Elliott West, author of The Contested Plains
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Dan Flores is retired as A. B. Hammond Professor of History at the University of Montana, Missoula. He is the author of numerous books, including Visions of the Big Sky: Painting and Photographing the Northern Rocky Mountain West and The Natural West: Environmental History in the Great Plains and Rocky Mountains.