This Land - How Cowboys, Capitalism, and Corruption are Ruining the American West

Regular price $ 29.00

by Christopher Ketcham


7/16/2019, hardcover

SKU: 9780735220980


The public lands of the western United States comprise some 450 million acres of grassland, steppe land, canyons, forests, and mountains. It's an American commons, and it is under assault as never before. Journalist Christopher Ketcham has been documenting the confluence of commercial exploitation and governmental misconduct in this region for over a decade. His revelatory book takes the reader on a journey across these last wild places, to see how capitalism is killing our great commons. Ketcham begins in Utah, revealing the environmental destruction caused by unregulated public lands livestock grazing, and exposing rampant malfeasance in the federal land management agencies, who have been compromised by the profit-driven livestock and energy interests they are supposed to regulate. He then turns to the broad effects of those corrupt politics on wildlife. He tracks the Department of Interior's failure to implement and enforce the Endangered Species Act--including its stark betrayal of protections for the grizzly bear and the sage grouse--and investigates the destructive behavior of U.S. Wildlife Services in their shocking mass slaughter of animals that threaten the livestock industry. Along the way, Ketcham talks with ecologists, biologists, botanists, former government employees, whistleblowers, grassroots environmentalists and other citizens who are fighting to protect the public domain for future generations. This Land is a colorful muckraking journey--part Edward Abbey, part Upton Sinclair--exposing the rot in American politics that is rapidly leading to the sell-out of our national heritage


"Ketcham's important book is an urgent cry to expose the greed, stubbornness and neglect that is harming public lands . . . he has written a psalm to nature and a manifesto to stop the forces that are threatening a territory that stretches from Colorado to the Pacific Coast." --Los Angeles Times

"A rollicking and unsparing look at the threats to our public lands . . . part reportage, part history, part backcountry travelogue, the book is full of righteous anger and reverence for wild spaces . . . brings the fighting spirit and conservation vision of great writers like Edward Abbey, Rachel Carson, and Bernard DeVoto into the 21st century." --Outside

"[An] encyclopedic exposé . . . [Ketcham] uses darkly humorous stories to illuminate the political, ideological, and physical threats to America's parks, forests, rivers, and monuments." --The New Yorker

"Ketcham is a muckraking activist . . . his brutally clear reporting supports his view . . . This Land is a catalog of depredations wrought by grazers, drillers, miners, loggers and the holders of public office who abet them, betraying their duty to the public trust in favor of money and political power . . . [Ketcham's] book is ultimately a call to arms." --The New York Times Book Review

"Ferocious . . . [a] stunning book . . . What makes This Land so pressing and so painful is that it drains any reservoirs of political naïveté you may have left. It reminds us that myths . . . are the collective lies we tell ourselves to keep from seeing what is actually happening . . . This Land is a book that will help us tell the story truthfully, a book for the hard times now that are a prelude to harder times ahead." --Verlyn Klinkenborg, The American Scholar

"A searing account of the use and abuse of America's public lands . . . an eye-opener in the tradition of Rachel Carson's Silent Spring." --The Denver Post

" This Land is a striking cry of anguish . . . Chronicling a history of subjugation beginning 200 years ago, the book offers infuriating evidence of a broken system leading to a broken ecosystem." --Salt Lake City Weekly

"This book minces no words on how environmental deterioration has created a situation that will make our descendants wonder what corporations were thinking about besides making money." -- Roundup Magazine



Christopher Ketcham has written for dozens of publications, including Harper's, National Geographic, and The New Republic. He has reported from the American West for more than a decade. This book is a product of those years in the last wild places. He currently lives in the Catskill Mountains of New York.