Wildlife, Land, and People: A Century of Change in Prairie Canada

Donald G. Wetherell. McGill-Queen’s Univ. (CDC, U.S. dist.; Georgetown Terminal Warehouses, Canadian dist.), $49.95 (640p) ISBN 978-0-7735-4791-9
Wetherell (Alberta Formed—Alberta Transformed) has crafted a magnum opus of environmental history outlining the complex relationships between humans and wildlife on the Canadian prairies since 1870. He argues that humans and the environment are integrated in ways that have shaped Canada’s modern development. People have encountered wild animals under different temporal, geographical, economic, and cultural circumstances that offer “a critical dimension of the working of power in society and the implications of human agency in the world.” The first section deals with the place-based interactions between people and wild animals on the prairies in the late 19th century. The second outlines how white Canadians and First Nations peoples have thought about the roles of animals in the world. The third discusses how individuals and the state have managed wildlife as a natural resource. Wetherell charts a history during which humans transitioned from viewing animals as “friends or foes” and gradually came to understand that all species are parts of interconnected ecosystems. Though this is a hefty, academic study, it is written and highly recommended for a broader readership interested in history and conservation. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 11/21/2016
Release date: 09/01/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
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