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Publisher's Summary

With its uncanny night howls, unrivaled ingenuity, and amazing resilience, the coyote is the stuff of legends. In Indian folktales it often appears as a deceptive trickster or a sly genius. But legends don't come close to capturing the incredible survival story of the coyote.

As soon as Americans - especially white Americans - began ranching and herding in the West, they began working to destroy the coyote. Despite campaigns of annihilation employing poisons, gases, helicopters, and engineered epidemics, coyotes didn't just survive, they thrived, expanding across the continent from Anchorage, Alaska, to New York's Central Park. In the war between humans and coyotes, coyotes have won hands down.

Coyote America is both an environmental and a deep natural history of the coyote. It traces both the five-million-year-long biological story of an animal that has become the "wolf" in our backyards and its cultural evolution from a preeminent spot in Native American religions to the hapless foil of the Road Runner. A deeply American tale, the story of the coyote in the American West and beyond is a sort of Manifest Destiny in reverse, with a pioneering hero whose career holds up an uncanny mirror to the successes and failures of American expansionism.

An illuminating biography of this extraordinary animal, Coyote America isn't just the story of an animal's survival - it is one of the great epics of our time.

©2016 Dan Flores (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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Average Customer Ratings

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Very Enjoyable Book, Subject Matter, and Reader

I approve of this audiobook. I basically listened to it due to the fact that there isn't a mammal alive that I dislike to the degree that I dislike canis latrans (still bitter about the loss of my childhood pets thanks to them) and I wanted to know more about them and hopefully develop some empathy. This book did that. Flores is a gifted author and audiobook reader a damned fine reader.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Coyote Consciousness

My intrigue about this book came from listening to the author's interview with Joe Rogan. As a great fan of Wiley Coyote, and having had several run-ins with coyotes throughout California, this book gave context to my mysterious fascination with them. It's a different kind of wisdom, and a non-linear logic that I really appreciate. The stories and factoids in Coyote America are remarkable, and I've already recommended this book to my trickster friends and family. A great read for long drives.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Good book. It's exactly what you would expect.

I had heard of this book from Joe Rogan Podcast, and Steve Rinella's Meat Eater. The book was informative without being too dry and scholarly to digest. I truly recommend it to anyone with even a passing interest in Coyotes, hunting, and the origin of coyote folklore.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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Super Interesting

A good mix of natural history and our role in the North American ecosystem. Interspersed with reflections and observations about our nature.
Didn't love the cadence of the reader but nothing to turn you away.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Intelligence, Adaptability, and Persistence

I found this book absorbing in its description of our wonderful, fascinating native critter, the coyote--its evolution, ability to adapt and survive, and its incredible intelligence. Our attempts to totally destroy this animal, to wipe it completely from the face of the earth, with unbelievably horrendous poisons and other unspeakable methods make me deeply ashamed. It was engaging to read about the coyote, but almost impossible to read about what the government, in our name, has done to kill it.

But the coyote has continued to thrive and increase its range into our cities and suburbs. The author tells us how to live with this wild creature in our midst, to avoid contact but to simply enjoy occasional sightings of something from our wild past that is with us in spite of our efforts to remove it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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fascinating content

The content was very engaging and interesting, but the information was presented in a somewhat disorderly fashion. I felt that the author jumped around a bit too much for a better rating, which took away from the enjoyment of the book. I commend the author however for the amount of information present in the book. He is clearly very engaged in the topic.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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informative and eye opening to certain issues

The book is overall good and the narrator does a great job. BUT


The author is contradictory, and political ("liberal") in his opinions. Praises Walt Disney and Bambi multiple times. He seems more like an animal rights activist trying to convince others of the value of Coyotes through a rose colored filter. I think mass murder and poisoning of Coyotes is wrong too, but this goes past that a little.

He (the author) tries very hard to anthropomorphize and romanticize coyotes. He stretches comparisons between humans and coyotes to a nauseating degree.

Where there is one fact regarding coyotes, there are five anecdotes, stories or description of a Walt Disney movie that inspired him to animal rights.

Having said that, I did appreciate learning of the poisons campaigns of our forefathers and their errors. I understand the need to learn from the past. I didn't estimate the amount of fluff and feel pieces that would be included I suppose.

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Covers a Lot of Interesting Ground

Narration was good, the coverage was broad - from nature to science to politics, and from wolves to ranchers to their new urban haunts. Many good anecdotes. I didn't know what to expect - I purchased the audio book for two reasons: 1.) as a relief from just listening to the new quantum loop gravity theory, and I received said relief; and 2.) I purchased it to enhance my grasp of reality, which has a direct bearing on the quality of my new philosophy.

The book kept me interested all the way through. It did three things to me: 1.) it made me want to get more books that contain in-depth studies of specific animals (though I've listened to many already); 2.) it made me want to vote Democrat (that actually went through my head) (but I'll go for enlightening the world instead); and 3.) it made me more aware of existing nature.

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Great historic detail, falls short on supernatural

--------THE WRITING
Dan Flores' "Coyote America: A Natural and Supernatural History" is a rather interesting take on the usual books that promise to teach you more in-depth about a specific animal, in that it's far more interested in the history of the animal - and the events & politics surrounding it - rather than making a detailed species account. For coyotes in particular though, this approach really does seem to work due to the interactions humans have had with these creatures over the past couple millennia.

With the writing mainly executed from the perspective of the coyotes, the result ends up being a tour through a very unique and fascinating timeline which happens to swirl and collide with recognizable historical pointers- often regarding the colonization of North America and how man is trying to learn how to live with nature rather than conquering it.

It is not an enjoyable journey however, as the journey that coyotes have had over the past couple centuries is definitely not a pleasant one. The writer makes sure you know in great detail the ignorance humankind has had (and still has) to planet earth and its creatures, and what a struggle it has been to make man more enlightened with its wilder surroundings.

That being said, while the natural history is expertly rendered with its research and writing, the supernatural part of it seems to have been focused on and collected together, but often cut in the end product. There is a chapter dedicated to the mythology of Old Man Coyote, but it does feel that the focus was more on the history of the Native American tribes and the relation they had to the coyote, rather than the actual fiction. To me it ended up feeling like there was a distinct lack of these stories, even in the single chapter where it was clearly dedicated for these.
Often after one of said stories, Dan Flores even details that it was based on all the stories he had researched, which he ended up merging together. I feel like the book might've been somewhat better off giving more of these stories rather than a collective summary of how these stories usually go.


--------THE NARRATOR
Elijah Alexander's performance was rather average to me, though it worked alright for the content. The choice to add a distinctive voice whenever there was a person being quoted just didn't work for me. The quotes are usually added in mid-sentence rather than a conversation like you'd see in a fictional story or a biography, which made the sudden accent half-way in a statement greatly distracting, rather than adding distinction in the people the narrator is trying to quote. It does work well whenever a story of Old Man Coyote is being told though.


--------THE VERDICT
With any book this specific, it is rare that I could give a recommendation to read it unless you've got a passionate interest in the niche subject matter. This book is no exception to that. However, if it does happen to be your cup of tea, then I would definitely suggest giving it a shot, as the journey through the history of Coyote America is definitely a great one.

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Absolutely fascinating

What made the experience of listening to Coyote America the most enjoyable?

Over the last few years I've stumbled into a deep interest in North American natural history (plants, animals, and indigenous peoples that preceded European arrival), and how modern humans have played into it. <br/><br/>Listening to this book was an easy choice after I heard the author (last name pronounced floor-ease) speak on a few podcasts, ReWild Yourself #93 and The Meateater #33. There are handfuls of hard, powerful - often horrifying - looks at Americans and the U.S. government interacting with coyotes. Many of these stories are shocking, yet they make for important and captivating storytelling; they are memorable anecdotes that enrich our understanding of the transition the natural world endured following European arrival.

What did you like best about this story?

I dug the author's bias toward natural history told from an eco-centric (vs. ego-centric) perspective. He doesn't tell the story from the vantage that says humans are the apotheosis of life on earth and thereby possess a warranted dominion over all things animate and inanimate. Rather he writes looking at coyotes as they truly are in a biological sense: a wild species part of the landscapes and ecoranges they evolved on. He contrasts the coyote's incredible biological resolve against the often bizarre, control-obsessed campaigns waged against it by modern humans.

Have you listened to any of Elijah Alexander’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

The reader's pronunciation of some words was interesting, but didn't take away from the overall story.

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Coyote: North America's inexorable canid.

Any additional comments?

Much looking forward to the author's similar book, American Serengeti. If you don't have time to listen to Coyote America in its entirety it's worth checking out episode #33 of The Meateater Podcast. It clocks in around two hours and holds some of the best information on American natural history and the mammals and other animals that existed here prior to the Anthropocene era.

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  • Coyote Noir
  • 07-03-17

Coyote America

Absolutely loved this book. A fascinating insight into coyotes and our interactions with them throughout history. In addition, it was wonderfully narrated, I highly recommend it to anyone with an interest in natural history, and human-carnivore/opportunist interactions.