• This Land

  • How Cowboys, Capitalism and Corruption are Ruining the American West
  • By: Christopher Ketcham
  • Narrated by: Christopher Ketcham
  • Length: 15 hrs and 39 mins
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars (190 ratings)

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This Land  By  cover art

This Land

By: Christopher Ketcham
Narrated by: Christopher Ketcham
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Publisher's summary

A hard-hitting look at the battle now raging over the fate of the public lands in the American West - and a plea for the protection of these last wild places

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 listener 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 US 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. The book ends with Ketcham's vision of ecological restoration for the American West: freeing the trampled, denuded ecosystems from the effects of grazing, enforcing the laws already in place to defend biodiversity, allowing the native species of the West to recover under a fully implemented Endangered Species Act, and establishing vast stretches of public land where there will be no development at all, not even for recreation.

Cover Photo courtesy of TWIG Media/Southern Utah Wilderness Alliance

©2019 Christopher Ketcham (P)2019 Penguin Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic reviews

"As Christopher Ketcham says so eloquently in these pages, the vast public lands are perhaps America's greatest legacy, a landscape of the scale necessary to help preserve the diversity of life on a hot planet in a tough century. That's why we need to pay such attention to the stories he tells of the threats they face." (Bill McKibben, author of Falter: Has the Human Game Begun to Play Itself Out?)

"Christopher Ketcham is a marvelously fresh and forceful voice, one unaffected by the squishy language and languid resistance of our grotesquely compromised (and well-funded) environmental organizations. Instructive and swiftly, smartly written, this book about the pillage and poisoning of our public lands reinvigorates writing as a force for outrage and change at the same time as it returns us to the clear-headed, big-hearted zeal of classic environmental works." (Joy Williams, author of The Florida Keys)

"As potent in its way as Silent Spring. This book will open your eyes to the greed and abuse destroying our public lands. Better yet, it will make you angry." (T. C. Boyle, author of Outside Looking In)