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With its uncanny night howls, unrivaled ingenuity, and amazing resilience, the coyote is the stuff of legends. In Indian folktales it often appears as a deceptive trickster or a sly genius. But legends don't come close to capturing the incredible survival story of the coyote. As soon as Americans-especially white Americans-began ranching and herding in the West, they began working to destroy the coyote. Despite campaigns of annihilation employing poisons, gases, helicopters, and engineered epidemics, coyotes didn't just survive, they thrived, expanding across the continent from Anchorage, Alaska, to New York's Central Park. In the war between humans and coyotes, coyotes have won hands-down.
Coyote America is both an environmental and a deep natural history of the coyote. It traces both the five-million-year-long biological story of an animal that has become the "wolf" in our backyards, as well as its cultural evolution from a preeminent spot in Native American religions to the hapless foil of the Road Runner. A deeply American tale, the story of the coyote in the American West and beyond is a sort of Manifest Destiny in reverse, with a pioneering hero whose career holds up an uncanny mirror to the successes and failures of American expansionism.
An illuminating biography of this extraordinary animal, Coyote America isn't just the story of an animal's survival-it is one of the great epics of our time.
Dan Flores is the A. B. Hammond Professor Emeritus of Western History at the University of Montana and the author of ten books on aspects of western US history. Flores lives just outside Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Finalist for the PEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award
Winner of the Sigurd F. Olson Nature Writing Award
"A masterly synthesis of scientific research and personal observation."
– Wall Street Journal
"[An] engaging study."
– New Yorker
"[An] absorbing book [...] Flores is a master storyteller."
– Natural History
"Compassionate and captivating."
– Christian Science Monitor
"A beautifully readable and meticulously researched book."
"[A] spirited blend of history, anthropology, folklore, and biology that is capable of surprises [...] Well written throughout and just the right length, Flores' book makes a welcome primer for living in a land in which coyotes roam freely-in, that is to say, the Coyote America of his title."
– Kirkus Reviews
"Flores's mix of edification and entertainment is a welcome antidote to a creature so often viewed with fear."
– Publishers Weekly
"As I was reading Coyote America, a coyote walked through our backyard. Magic occurs in these pages."
– Terry Tempest Williams, author of The Hour of Land