May 7, 2024

Wild New World

Wild New World

Winner of the 2023 Rachel Carson Environment Book Award

Winner of the 2023 National Outdoor Book Award for Natural History Literature

Shortlisted for the 2023 Phi Beta Kappa Society Ralph Waldo Emerson Award A Kirkus Reviews Best Nonfiction Book of 2022 A deep-time history of animals and humans in North America, by the best-selling and award-winning author of Coyote America.

In 1908, near Folsom, New Mexico, a cowboy discovered the remains of a herd of extinct giant bison. By examining flint points embedded in the bones, archeologists later determined that a band of humans had killed and butchered the animals 12,450 years ago. This discovery vastly expanded America’s known human history but also revealed the long-standing danger Homo sapiens presented to the continent’s evolutionary richness.

Distinguished author Dan Flores’s ambitious history chronicles the epoch in which humans and animals have coexisted in the “wild new world” of North America—a place shaped both by its own grand evolutionary forces and by momentous arrivals from Asia, Africa, and Europe. With portraits of iconic creatures such as mammoths, horses, wolves, and bison, Flores describes the evolution and historical ecology of North America like never before.

The arrival of humans precipitated an extraordinary disruption of this teeming environment. Flores treats humans not as a species apart but as a new animal entering two continents that had never seen our likes before. He shows how our long past as carnivorous hunters helped us settle America, initially establishing a coast-to-coast culture that lasted longer than the present United States. But humanity’s success had devastating consequences for other creatures. In telling this epic story, Flores traces the origins of today’s “Sixth Extinction” to the spread of humans around the world; tracks the story of a hundred centuries of Native America; explains how Old World ideologies precipitated 400 years of market-driven slaughter that devastated so many ancient American species; and explores the decline and miraculous recovery of species in recent decades.

In thrilling narrative style, informed by genomic science, evolutionary biology, and environmental history, Flores celebrates the astonishing bestiary that arose on our continent and introduces the complex human cultures and individuals who hastened its eradication, studied America’s animals, and moved heaven and earth to rescue them. Eons in scope and continental in scale, Wild New World is a sweeping yet intimate Big History of the animal-human story in America.

Author letter and Discussion guide

Letter from the author

Letter from author

Reader group guide

reader group Guide

About the author

Dan Flores is a Santa Fe-area writer originally from Louisiana who spent much of his career as a University of Montana professor. The author of 11 books, he has written for the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Chicago Tribune, and Time Magazine. Along with appearances on Anthony Bourdain’s Parts Unknown and Joe Rogan’s podcasts, Flores is featured in Ken Burns’s 2023 American Buffalo documentary. His most recent books are American Serengeti, winner of the Stubbendieck Distinguished Book Prize in 2017; Coyote America, a 2016 New York Times Bestseller, and Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Prize winner and Finalist for PEN America’s E. O. Wilson Prize in 2017; and Wild New World, winner of the 2023 Rachel Carson Environment Book Prize and the 2023 National Outdoor Book Award for Natural History Literature.

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I found the parts about the government and presidents very interesting and sad. Once again it just shows that man is the greatest enemy!


This for me was another example of how little I know about what I think I know.


This book really makes us think about those we call heroes and whether they deserve it.


This book really makes us think about those we call heroes and whether they really deserve it

Linda J. Holland-Toll

This book is a real and necessary icon smasher. I was appalled to learn that John Muir was in favour of exterminating wolves. And some of us still have the same mindset, which is completely unacceptable.

Linda J. Holland-Toll

some hero. I used to admire Teddy Roosevelt, but this book opened my eyes. Anyone who thinks people like Caywood are heroes has something radically wrong with his thinking. What is so heroic about poisoning a starving wolf? Or trapping a wolf? I donate to Defenders of Willife and I am doubling my donation.

Elaine Malone

I have always been impressed with how much President Theodore Roosevelt did for wildlife conservation, but when I read after his term ended that he went to Africa on a safari and killed hundreds of animals I was really disappointed. It feels like the only reason some of the wildlife preservation programs initially were founded was to make sure hunters had plenty of wildlife to kill.

Linda J. Holland-Toll

As I read this, I found. Myself ashamed to be human. I am not particularly religious, but I hope that Caywood who shot and poisoned Rags and Greenhorn is rotting for all eternity in hell. What a big brave man!

Steve Troxel

Unfortunately, there are many, many things in our history that will make us ashamed if we are honest.

Ethan Martinez

hello to you




Just started reading. Will post thoughts later.



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