The New York Times best-selling account of how coyotes--long the target of an extermination policy--spread to every corner of the United States
Finalist for thePEN/E.O. Wilson Literary Science Writing Award
"A masterly synthesis of scientific research and personal observation."-Wall Street Journal
Legends don't come close to capturing the incredible story of the coyote In the face of centuries of campaigns of annihilation employing gases, helicopters, and engineered epidemics, coyotes didn't just survive, they thrived, expanding across the continent from Alaska to New York. In the war between humans and coyotes, coyotes have won, hands-down. Coyote America is the illuminating five-million-year biography of this extraordinary animal, from its origins to its apotheosis. It is one of the great epics of our time.
Flores (American Serengeti), emeritus professor of Western history at the University of Montana, looks at the coyote and its history on the North American continent in this educational volume. Having lived for a decade in the pi on-juniper mesas south of Santa Fe, N.Mex., "the evolutionary heartland of America's native canines," Flores considers the coyote's howl "the original national anthem of North America" one that dates back "nearly 1 million years." He traces the animal's roots, giving lessons on both physiology and mythology. "As a literary character," Flores notes, the coyote is a "complex figure full of nuances of all sorts" as well as a "trickster who is forever falling for the oldest trick in the book." Flores also presents accounts of coyotes in urban environments and their depictions in pop culture. For example, in Chicago during the 2007 heat wave, a coyote walked into a sandwich shop and jumped onto a freezer to cool down, to the surprise and amusement of employees and customers. Similarly, considerations of fictional characters such as Wile E. Coyote, introduced by Warner Bros. in 1949, provide entertaining counterpoints to the coyote's status as "North America's oldest surviving deity." Flores's mix of edification and entertainment is a welcome antidote to a creature so often viewed with fear. Illus.