Steven Rinella grew up in Twin Lake, Michigan, the son of a hunter who taught his three sons to love the natural world the way he did. As a child, Rinella devoured stories of the American wilderness, especially the exploits of his hero, Daniel Boone. He began fishing at the age of three and shot his first squirrel at eight and his first deer at thirteen. He chose the colleges he went to by their proximity to good hunting ground, and he experimented with living solely off wild meat. As an adult, he feeds his family from the food he hunts.
Meat Eater chronicles Rinella's lifelong relationship with nature and hunting through the lens of 10 hunts, beginning when he was an aspiring mountain man at age 10 and ending as a 37-year-old Brooklyn father who hunts in the remotest corners of North America. He tells of having a struggling career as a fur trapper just as fur prices were falling; of a dalliance with catch-and-release steelhead fishing; of canoeing in the Missouri Breaks in search of mule deer just as the Missouri River was freezing up one November; and of hunting the elusive Dall sheep in the glaciated mountains of Alaska.
Through each story, Rinella grapples with themes such as the role of the hunter in shaping America, the vanishing frontier, the ethics of killing, the allure of hunting trophies, the responsibilities that human predators have to their prey, and the disappearance of the hunter himself as Americans lose their connection with the way their food finds its way to their tables. Hunting, he argues, is intimately connected with our humanity; assuming responsibility for acquiring the meat that we eat, rather than entrusting it to proxy executioners, processors, packagers, and distributors, is one of the most respectful and exhilarating things a meat eater can do.
A thrilling storyteller with boundless interesting facts and historical information about the land, the natural world, and the history of hunting, Rinella also includes after each chapter a section of "Tasting Notes" that draws from his 30-plus years of eating and cooking wild game, both at home and over a campfire. In Meat Eater he paints a loving portrait of a way of life that is part of who we are as humans and as Americans.
©2012 Steven Rinella (P)2013 Tantor
"An insider's look at hunting that devotees and nonparticipants alike should find fascinating." (Kirkus)
Book is great, would be better if Rinella had read it himself. Narrator mispronounced words like Kenai, Javelina, and a few others that show he isn't from the same world as the author.
I've followed Steve since his first television show (The Wild Within). I find his approach to hunting really hits home with my own experiences. This book is no exception. The writing places you almost into the memories that he is reciting, allowing you to experience almost first hand the excitement and comradery of each hunt.
If I have any criticism for this book, I take issue with Steve's description of high fence hunting. While he has no qualms about discussing hunting over bait and hunting with dogs (two very controversial areas amongst hunters) he broadly discounts high fence operations.
All and all a great book, however, and one I would recommend.
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