Get a free audiobook

American Buffalo

In Search of a Lost Icon
Written by: Steven Rinella
Narrated by: Steven Rinella
Length: 7 hrs and 42 mins
5 out of 5 stars (23 ratings)

CDN$ 14.95/month after 30 days. Cancel anytime.

Publisher's Summary

From the host of the Travel Channel’s The Wild Within.

A hunt for the American buffalo - an adventurous, fascinating examination of an animal that has haunted the American imagination. 

In 2005, Steven Rinella won a lottery permit to hunt for a wild buffalo, or American bison, in the Alaskan wilderness. Despite the odds - there’s only a two percent chance of drawing the permit, and fewer than 20 percent of those hunters are successful - Rinella managed to kill a buffalo on a snow-covered mountainside and then raft the meat back to civilization while being trailed by grizzly bears and suffering from hypothermia. Throughout these adventures, Rinella found himself contemplating his own place among the 14,000 years’ worth of buffalo hunters in North America, as well as the buffalo’s place in the American experience. At the time of the Revolutionary War, North America was home to approximately 40 million buffalo, the largest herd of big mammals on the planet, but by the mid-1890s only a few hundred remained. Now that the buffalo is on the verge of a dramatic ecological recovery across the West, Americans are faced with the challenge of how, and if, we can dare to share our land with a beast that is the embodiment of the American wilderness. 

American Buffalo is a narrative tale of Rinella’s hunt. But beyond that, it is the story of the many ways in which the buffalo has shaped our national identity. Rinella takes us across the continent in search of the buffalo’s past, present, and future: to the Bering Land Bridge, where scientists search for buffalo bones amid artifacts of the New World’s earliest human inhabitants; to buffalo jumps where Native Americans once ran buffalo over cliffs by the thousands; to the Detroit Carbon works, a “bone charcoal” plant that made fortunes in the late 1800s by turning millions of tons of buffalo bones into bone meal, black dye, and fine china; and even to an abattoir turned fashion mecca in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, where a depressed buffalo named Black Diamond met his fate after serving as the model for the American nickel. 

 Rinella’s erudition and exuberance, combined with his gift for storytelling, make him the perfect guide for a book that combines outdoor adventure with a quirky blend of facts and observations about history, biology, and the natural world. Both a captivating narrative and a book of environmental and historical significance, American Buffalo tells us as much about ourselves as Americans as it does about the creature who perhaps best of all embodies the American ethos.

©2008, 2009 Steven Rinella (P)2019 Random House Audio

What the critics say

“This is some of the best writing on our great national beast since George Catlin - and that was in 1841. A real triumph.” (Bill McKibben, author The Bill McKibben Reader)
 

“This is a big-game hunting story like no other: Steven Rinella is in search of an animal, quite literally. But also historically, existentially, and maybe even spiritually. Follow him on this curious armed quest - and, like him, you will quickly find yourself immersed in the fate of our mightiest and most talismanic beast.” (Hampton Sides, author of Blood and Thunder)

“Moving and downright funny...Rinella writes with authority about the process of turning a living creature into steak, and easily renders an enormous amount of historical and scientific information into a thoroughly engaging narrative.” (Publishers Weekly, starred review) 

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    23
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Performance

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    19
  • 4 Stars
    0
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0

Story

  • 5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    18
  • 4 Stars
    1
  • 3 Stars
    0
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    0
Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Truly Wild

Love it, amazing book and amazing author. An amazing story of an iconic animal and wild places.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A Natural History Buff's Dream Come True

Steven Rinella is an amazing speaker and television host. His way of speaking is extremely nice to listen to and reflects his vast knowledge of the English language and his clear affection for crafting sentences. This is of course, not anything close to lost in his writing. But having him narrate his own writing is just sublime. The 7 hours and 42 minutes that make up his reading of this book passed in minutes. Upon finishing, this title ranks among Thoreau's Walden in it's ability to transport the reader or listener to natural landscapes, or among books like Guns Germs and Steel in it's historical value. It might be a niche population that enjoys this subject, but do we ever appreciate gems like this.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great Book

This new version of the book is awesome, the version read by the other guy was good, but when Steven Rinella says it in his own words is even better.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Amazing

Great book with amazing in site to some cool history. Steven is one of the best narrators I have heard in a long time. If you watch his show, this is basically the same thing if you close your eyes you can picture everything from the landscape to the feeling in the air!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic!

I loved it! I've been listening to his podcast almost every day while I drive and I've heard him reference this book a bunch of times. I downloaded Audible specifically for this book and I was not disappointed. Listened to the whole thing in one sitting while driving for work.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

As always, great work by Rinella

Loved it, looking forward to having more of his books. Will definitely recommend to anyone.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Steve is a great writer

so happy this was narrated by Steve I really enjoyed all the info that I was given and the great story of your buffalo hunt!

Sort by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-08-01

Phenomenal

As a biologist, a hunter, and an amateur natural historian, this book fills me up inside. Unburdened by the callous and removed nature of academic literature, yet more detailed and factual than some textbooks, Rinella’s writing provides a comfortable means of learning the bison’s multifaceted in North America. The philosophical ponderings scattered throughout the book capture the mindset of the hunting and angling naturalist as well as any other attempts I’ve seen.

Another noteworthy aspect of this audiobook has nothing to do with the writing, but with the narration. So often audiobooks are narrated with the passion and emotion of an actuary spouting off statistics. Rinella does not follow this trend, and brings a feeling of authenticity and sincerity to the reading while still speaking clearly.

I will be recommending this book to anyone and everyone I know that has a passion for the outdoors, natural history, biological understanding, and good campfire stories.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • mark a hall
  • 2019-08-12

love Steven Rinella

this was a great book that kept me engaged from beginning to end. Told very well.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-08-11

Rinella’s back yard charm shines

A great meshing if the past and present, Rinella tells the story of the American Buffalo in a way that makes you feel as though it’s a buddy from home.

Without over dramatization, Rinella captures his adventure and the 200+ year adventure of the Buffalo in an engaging and page turning fashion. The use of his hunting/back country analogies gives the story a feel of a great fishing story with the detail and precision of a well read author.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Anonymous User
  • 2019-08-07

amazing book!!!

I bought this book in paperback several years ago. As I follow the meat eater show, podcast and read alot of his articles he published, when I saw it was he brought the book to audible I couldn't help myself. listening to smooth jazz that is Steve's voice is like listening to what I could only imagine what velvet would sound like if it had a soumd instead of a feel. I would recommend this book 100% to hunters, buffalo enthusiasts, nonhunters, vegans I mean you name it I'd tell them to read/listen to the book. ita excellently wrote and well narrated. 10/10 would listen, but dont take my word for it listen your self

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Coghlan
  • 2019-09-15

awe mazing!!!

Steve Rinella delivers an incredible story of passion, admiration and struggle between man, and beast. This story strings you along a time line of north american history and the relationship between humans and animal, and how the balance of power can be over turned in such a short time. This is a remarkable account of a hunter who takes hunting to a new level that all should admire. Great job Steve!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • deadz007
  • 2019-09-15

It's a great listen!

Being a fan of Steven Rinella after watching his series "Meat Eater" on Netflix, there were several instances where he talked about this book and I had to listen to it to see what it was about. I really enjoy how the author moves between his active hunt and recounting his childhood events leading up to his hunt in search of the Buffalo as well as recounting the history involved with early settlers and the overall history of the Buffalo.

I feel that the book is very well written and anyone that takes an interest in hunting and/or the early days of the United States will thoroughly enjoy this book. Very highly recommended!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • CHAS Y.
  • 2019-09-14

Thankful Steve won the rights back!

Awesome to hear you read your amazing work, Steve. This book is not only the greatest book ever written on the subject of Buffalo but it’s one of the best books on history. It’s clever and witty and I highly recommend you read it before you listen to it! Well done.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Randall Dortch
  • 2019-09-13

An enjoyable experience

Very well written and narrated...thank you for an enjoyable experience and knowledge! Entertaining as well as informative!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Dan Rench
  • 2019-09-11

Beautiful animal

Narrator was a Good story teller. Nice mixture of history, Buffalo facts and annal behavior. I thought I knew a fair amount about buffalo but I learned a lot more. Easy listen, at times I felt like I was on location with the author.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 2019-09-06

Awesome and very detailed outline of this hunting adventure

This book was a great book. I learned a lot of about the history of the buffalo and some of the hunting techniques they used back in the days. What makes this book really stand out is how visual everything was. Steve Rinella put a lot of heart and detail into this adventure. I look forward to more stories from Steve Rinella.