Books: Rewilding the West

Richard Manning rails against “map and camera” prairie restoration.

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The northern Montana prairie is not exactly inviting: It gets only 10 inches of rain a year, and the winters are Siberian. The region, known as the Missouri Breaks, was once a sea of grass supporting countless elk, bison, wolves, and grizzlies. But in the 19th century, humans evicted the megafauna in favor of cattle that have, as environmental journalist Richard Manning puts it, “vacuumed every blade of grass from the landscape.” In Rewilding the West, Manning tells the grim story of the Breaks and offers a prescription for turning the worn-out region into a pristine, profitable Yellowstone of the plains.

A private conservation group hopes to restore the Breaks by creating a 3.5 million-acre preserve open to bird-watchers, mountain bikers, and sport hunters. But Manning rails against map-and-camera preservation, which he sees as elitist. Instead, he advocates that the preserve become a self-sustaining grassland that will use carbon sequestration to protect prairie and reap profits from large-scale bison and elk hunting. A tenacious reporter, Manning is a guy with a passion for grass, and that’s a good thing. Rewilding the West can be preachy, but it reminds us of a forgotten place that deserves more attention.

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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