John D. Taylor Denny Burkhart & Janett Toth-Musser Illustrations
Culturally, biologically and historically prairie grasslands and the creatures connected to them helped shape North America's destiny, and continue to do so. Yet real prairie is vanishing; depending on location, between 99 and 35 percent of it is gone.
In Prairie Autumn: A Midcontinent Quest for Heart & Soul, award-winning author John D. Taylor takes a hard look at North America's prairie; its past, present and future; the wildlife and people connected to these wild spaces, especially the upland game birds (sharptails, prairie chickens, sage grouse, quail, pheasants and Hungarian partridge) best explored over a brace of English setters.
For readers, this two-volume book is many things coming together under a single banner; something anyone with a yen for prairie will find fascinating. It is, for example, a "place" story, containing prairie's natural history. Intertwined is a people story that begins with the American Indian, tracks the arrival of Europeans, and follows the American trapper, cowboy, settler, wheat farmer, oil man, Dust Bowl refugee, Farm Crisis victim and corporate agriculturalist across the plains, showing how each has left his mark on the land.
Throughout is a wildlife conservation and upland bird gunning story. Hunting is Taylor's vehicle for discovering the magic of prairie. He explores the past, present and future of prairie chickens, sharptails, sage grouse, pheasants and Hungarian partridge on a state-by-state basis-commentary that is insightful because it exposes the trials and tribulations of man's sometime misbegotten attempts to conserve prairie's rich resources. Prairie Autumn is 1,082 pages in two 7 x 10-inch perfectbound volumes.
· Volume I (528 pages) defines prairie and recounts its past;
· Volume II (560 pages) considers prairie's present with a state-by-state look at each upland game bird species. It also weighs the future that might fall upon the grasslands.
The book is rich with photographs, maps and art by Denny Burkhart and Janette Toth-Musser.
Both volumes-together-are $42.
DENNY BURKHART does his best work on subjects he pursues as an avid outdoorsman. Taylor and Burkhart often share days afield and creative ventures.