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Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman

Conservation Heroes of the American Heartland

Miriam Horn (Author)

Overview | Formats

The story of a huge, largely hidden, and entirely unexpected conservation movement in America.

Many of the men and women doing today’s most consequential environmental work—restoring America’s grasslands, wildlife, soil, rivers, wetlands, and oceans—would not call themselves environmentalists; they would be too uneasy with the connotations of that word. What drives them is their deep love of the land: the iconic terrain where explorers and cowboys, pioneers and riverboat captains forged the American identity. They feel a moral responsibility to preserve this heritage and natural wealth, to ensure that their families and communities will continue to thrive.

Unfolding as a journey down the Mississippi River, Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman tells the stories of five representatives of this stewardship movement: a Montana rancher, a Kansas farmer, a Mississippi riverman, a Louisiana shrimper, and a Gulf fisherman. In exploring their work and family histories and the essential geographies they protect, Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman challenges pervasive and powerful myths about American and environmental values.

A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year.

Book Details

  • Hardcover
  • September 2016
  • ISBN 978-0-393-24734-3
  • 6.5 × 9.6 in / 416 pages
  • Sales Territory: Worldwide

Other Formats

  1. Book CoverRancher, Farmer, Fisherman: Conservation Heroes of the American Heartland


Endorsements & Reviews

“The most powerful, compelling, and eloquent solutions for our problems come from the inside. In this lush, gorgeously written book, Miriam Horn shows men and women preserving the natural world around them—not out of an abstract sense of environmentalism, but because they love the land and water, their communities, and way of life. A profoundly hopeful book.” — Tina Rosenberg, winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, co-founder of Solutions Journalism Network

“Miriam Horn weaves a picture of hope from the stories of five Americans whose work places them on the front lines of conservation. Their compelling stories illuminate the complexity of the challenges posed by a changing climate, and teach that the solutions must be grounded in humanity as well as in science. A marvelous and inspiring book.” — Frederic C. Rich, author of Getting to Green

Rancher, Farmer, Fisherman showcases the people I consider the real unsung heroes of conservation in America: the landowners themselves. Successful conservation in this country requires leadership by the people closest to the land, not just regulators in Washington, D.C.… Horn’s book should be required reading for everyone who is concerned about how we will sustain American food production and help feed the world while protecting our limited land and water resources.” — Howard G. Buffett, chairman and CEO of the Howard G. Buffett Foundation

“A book of wide-screen vision and pinpoint detail, cinched tight to the middle of the country. With understanding, skill, and passion, Miriam Horn tells the stories of men and women who wrest their living from a varied environment while working hard to preserve it. Her writing is always enlightening, often a delight.” — Ian Frazier

“Wonderful... vital.” — Craig Fehrman, Outside

“There’s much to be hopeful about in this book and many lessons on what it takes to build the kinds of bridges and foundations that make democracy possible, even in a divided nation.” — Madeline Ostrander, Nation

“Refreshingly, in what could have been an extremely political title, Horn and her subjects go out of their way to illustrate how it is only through taking an apolitical and far-reaching view of environmental issues that true success can be found…interesting, even revolutionary ways…to approach conservation issues.” — Booklist (starred review)

“All of these valiant men and women, writes the author, are fiercely protective of the land and sea and its bounty not only because these delicately balanced ecosystems directly support their livelihoods, but because there is also an enduring love of the land itself and an allegiance to preserve it…An optimistic journal of promise for the future.” — Kirkus (starred review)

“Horn’s intimate profiles reveal undervalued environmental change makers while countering popular notions of what it means to be a conservationist.” — Publishers Weekly

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Related Books

  1. Book CoverGetting to Green

    “Regardless of your place on the political spectrum, there is much to admire in this book, which reminds us that the stewardship of nature is an obligation shared by all Americans.”—U.S. Senator Angus S. King Jr.More