Book: Blood Memory

Blood Memory book

In just a 20-year span, from the 1870s to the 1890s, many Native American tribes lost their most important resource: the buffalo. Today, mostly treeless grasslands stretch as far as you can see to the horizon, but this large mammal is conspicuously absent. How did we go from millions of buffalo to less than 1,000 in just a generation? In Blood Memory: The Tragic Decline and Improbable Resurrection of the American Buffalo (Penguin Random House, $40), co-authors Dayton Duncan and Ken Burns address exactly that. The duo details a sobering look at how we almost lost America’s most iconic mammal through greed and other unfortunate aspects of human nature. It’s a fitting tribute to the buffalo, telling a compelling story from the time of Lewis & Clark’s 1804-1806 expedition to the animal’s near-extinction and almost-impossible recovery. It’s a raw, inspiring read, and ever more impactful in conjunction with Duncan and Burn’s accompanying PBS documentary, American Buffalo.