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Book reviews for "Bass,_Rick" sorted by average review score:

The Watch
Published in Paperback by W.W. Norton & Company (April, 1994)
Author: Rick Bass
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Amazingly fresh and timeless stories
The stories in The Watch are both youthful and wise. Rick Bass is a master of the short story form and this collection is a wonderful representation of his earlier works of fiction. Highly recommended for someone looking to get into contemporary literary fiction. Back in '92, the book captured me.

casts a spell
One of my favorite short story collections. The language is beautiful. The characters, settings, and actions are all so persuasive, and complement each other so well. Finally, the stories are MOVING--not just witty or clever or inventive. Bass' stories have it all!

In praise of The Watch
The first story I ever read by Mr. Bass was "Fires", published in "The Quarterly", a now-defunct publication. Since then I've bought every published work he has put out. "The Watch" is a superb example of Mr. Bass' haunting and near-mythical prose about the lives of everyday people. His characters are larger than life and imbued with a strength of personality. "In Ruth's Country" is a beautiful, poignant story of modern-day star-crossed lovers. "Choteau" is a fine example of Bass' ability to create heroic figures out of ordinary people. "Mexico" grips one with such a strong sense of place that you can imagine yourself in any of the character's shoes. "Juggernaut" allowed me to return home to a simpler place and time that I'd almost forgotten over the years. Every story in this collection is as fine as any writer today is producing. Each character is true, and the prose is full of desperation and longing. If you liked this book, you will probably appreciate short story collections by Richard Ford ("Rock Springs" and "Wildlife") and "Borrowed Hearts" by Rick DeMarinis.

A Hunter's Heart: Honest Essays on Blood Sport
Published in Hardcover by Henry Holt & Company, Inc. (September, 1996)
Authors: David Petersen, Edward Abbey, and Rick Bass
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Living with Blood on Your Hands.
This book is a collection of essays on hunting by some excellent outdoor writers, including former President Jimmy Carter. The writers talk about why they hunt. This book examines that question and finds that there are many reasons different people give to that same question. You may agree with some or disagree, but you'll definitely think long and hard about the answers given.

This book's thought provoking essays also force all of us to think about our own carnivorous instincts. Since almost all of us eat meat from the supermarket the book takes cows as an example and asks non hunters if the castration of bulls, the branding, the feeding of them in outdoor, closed in, excrement filled pens and the eventual slaughter of them is really somehow better than the hunter who shoots and kills a deer in the wild? It seems we all live with blood on our hands. But not to let you think this book is simply cut and pasted from the pages of American Hunter. The book also questions trophy hunting and whether hunting should even be considered a sport.

Since many hunters spend a good deal of time defending what they love to do, I would recommend that they pick up a copy of this book in order to be able to answer the question "why do I hunt?"

Pray, read this book.
I could not think of a title for my review. I don't write many and find Amazon's 5 star system constraining. This book is extraordinarily good. The title will, unfortunately, be off-putting to some. If one could choose another title, I would suggest: A compendium of almost four-dozen essays written by men and women about their love and passion for wildlife and conservation. It is so much more than a book about hunting, that one cannot describe it simply. Further, what is equally astounding is the fact that the "collector," David Petersen, was able to obtain such a wonderful robust collection.

If one expects this to be a book merely about hunting, that expectation is wrong. If one expects this to be essays written only by undereducated, good old boys-"slob hunters"-who relish ambushing Bambi from a truck that is wrong. If your expectation is that all the essays will be unambiguously pro-hunting or gun sport, you are "off the mark." Fairly, Nelson, in his introduction says," In the United States, hunters are probably the largest, most diverse, and most important potential advocates for preservation of natural habitats and protection of wild animal populations." That remark comes close.

I believe that many city folk have so lost touch with wild life that they now believe that hunting is something akin to a video game using live ammunition. That a hunter would relish spending an entire day tracking game, and not succeed seems antithetical to their purpose for some. After reading these essays, one understands why the writers deem the day a success, something very special; e.g., "I began to realize that what I like best about hunting was the companionship of a few good old trusted buddies in the out-of-doors."

If hunters can feel so deeply-even those who later abandon it-one hopes for a return to earlier days when more Americans shared the pastime. Pete Dunne writes about "the Great Moment: How the universe held its breath, waiting-waiting for the sound of an echo that never came; the echo of a shot that was never fired" while sighting a deer-and not shooting-after his many years of hunting. You can feel the heart of this "ex"-hunter who still declares that "anti-hunters who believe that hunting is synonymous with killing and that anyone who hunts is unfeeling and cruel" ... "aren't dishonest. They are merely wrong."

I could go further, providing so many wonderful examples of the humanity of these writers. I suggest, however, that you make the time to read this book. Perhaps the greatest compliment I can pay to these writers is that they are knowledgeable, articulate, caring people. If their hunting experience has helped them become that way, hunting is very important to our culture and our society.

An incredible read
One of the things a hunter struggles with is how to describe to others what the importance of hunting is. This book is a compilation of insights written by those who ask themselves the question, "Why do you hunt?".

Traveling at High Speeds
Published in Hardcover by New Issues Press (November, 1997)
Authors: John Rybicki and Rick Bass
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Imagine holding the Ramones in your hands
These poems are sort of like beautiful punk rock songs: all blast, all economy, nothing wasted; then, when the band is done, they're wholly spent and are able to do nothing but sip a beer stretched out in a folding chair.

Many poems are better "heard" then "read", and though these poems are certainly enjoyable when read aloud, I've enjoyed them quietly, as my own, on my own, like a little prayer book to read on the subway or bus or at lunch. A volatile, fiery prayerbook, to be sure, but a prayerbook nonetheless. You can tell from the other reviewers that this book tends towards intimacy between the reader and the page--you do get attached to them. Imagine how you keep remembering what your beloved said to you the night before, or the look on the face of a child in a favorite photograph, you think of it all day. It's like that. In just a few lines (and most of these poems are no more than 8-10 lines) a picture is drawn of a motion, a setting, a remembrance, sketched in just enough sparse detail that you either recognize the scene as one from your own life, or else you end up fixated on it it from an intimate distance, explode, burn and fade in one quick moment.

Think Babe Ruth, swinging for the seats on every pitch. Sometimes he strikes out, but even his whiffs look prettier than most people's base hits.

Everything you need
Rybicki is a god. There is nothing else to say. His poems are modern, so be prepared - he does things with language that are beautiful and spectacualar and terrifying and enthralling. If you have been taught by this man, they you know that there are no words. Except, perhaps, that the two-headed monster has a lot to teach you. Rybicki is one head. For the other head, go find Pete Markus' books. Buy these together, read, add tears, stir.

A City-Boy Does It Big
There is no real way to review this book without sounding like a fanatic, or to tell you to buy it without making you feel ashamed at not having done so yet. It cuts my breath short to think of ever living without having read this book, so great is the energy I pull from the words. I carry this book with me on long trips, from fear that I might die without having Rybicki's words nearby.

The Deer Pasture
Published in Hardcover by Texas A&M University Press (September, 2000)
Authors: Rick Bass and Elizabeth Hughes
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More than just a deer hunting book
Rick Bass is not your typical hunter, and The Deer Pasture is not your typical hunting story. An admitted "tree hugger," Bass uses his family deer lease as the setting for a narrative essay that deals with everything from hunting ethics and wildlife conservation to family values and romantic love. His observations on Texas Hill Country society (including the dogs--especially the dogs) are thorough without sounding scientific. Bass's Mark Twain-style humor serves as comic relief to the very serious issues that he tackles. This book is destined to become a Texas literary classic.

Deer Camp Explained
This is a great book for all deer hunters, especially those who hunt in the Texas Hill Country. Bass goes beyond the hunt to take a light-hearted look at why we go back to deer camp year after year. The essays put into words the excitement and wonder of hunting, the Hill Country and all the small things that make deer hunting so much more than just the hunting of deer.

Platte River
Published in Paperback by Ballantine Books (Trd Pap) (July, 1995)
Author: Rick Bass
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Not the most uplifting book I've ever read, but.....
You get an overall sense of gloom from the peoples lives in the book, but I believe the author wants you to look deeper than just that. One story is basically the more the change, the more the things remain the same. Another looks at peoples strengths vs. weakness's and surprisingly where you will find them. And, finally, another looks at looking inside yourself. Among this, is the most beautiful and desriptive narrative of mother nature in all her glory. You can easily picture Exactly where and what he is talking about. It never fails that a few words thrown together will bring back memories of your own that you had long forgotten.

Another great book by Rick Bass.
These stories are about something that no one else I know of is writing about. I can't make out what it is exactly. I'll leave lists of superlatives to professional book reviewers and just give you what for me is the bottom line -- this book is important

The Return of the Wolf: Reflections on the Future of Wolves in the Northeast (Middlebury Bicentennial Series in Environmental Studies)
Published in Hardcover by University Press of New England (November, 2000)
Authors: Bill McKibben, John B. Theberge, Kristin Deboer, Rick Bass, and John Elder
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Helping wolves
I believe this is a cause for restoration. This book made me believe that the wolf should be released in to the Adriondack mountians. It also had me believing that the ecosystem needs the wolves to survive. I was especially fascinated by Kristen Deboer's idea of creating corridors between parks in Canada ans the northeast, to help creat migratrion routes for animals. I believet he book itself aswell was ans informative, great, intertaining read.

Wol Restoration in the east
The Return of the Wolf is an eye-opener as it gives four very distinct and honest evaluations of the possibility of our northeastern forest communities welcoming the timber wolf back to it's native haunts. Let us not confuse the eastern coyote which has hybridized with the eastern wolf as the as the easts top canid predator.....The wolf, just as in Yellowstone and Minnesota is the true predator of the moose , Caribou Elk and Beaver. The coyote, even if hybridized with wolf genes is still not a large enough creature(maximum of 70 pounds whereas the true timber wolf can be 100-150 pounds)to bring down the northeasts growing moose population and hopefully one day a restored caribou herd. Let the voice of Rick Bass,Kristen DeBoer and Bill McKibben weigh heavy.......let us set aside the lands, educate the "Little Red Riding Hood" believers and politic effectively with the state house representatives who tend to buckle to the pressure of corporations who favor short term extraction versus long term sustainability. Give the wolves the chance to push the coyotes to their rightful "fringe" of the forest allowing the true timber wolf and restored(hopefully) Cougar to stand atop the food chain as top predators of the land. Our forests have returned after 400 years of being chopped and burned.Let us stop the shopping malls and second home developments from destroying our wonderful open lands.Let the land be restored to it's glory and allow the current residents of the backwoods to continue their sustainable forestry and wsoodcraft busines while reaping some benefits from a contrulled and managed Ecotourism. What a great thing for us to have the pomeans and will to return and restore our woodlands in the most populated part of the U.S. to their former majesty. We can be a model for the conservative western United States and the emerging 3rd world countries to emulate......The Return of the Wolf speaks of all of these things and more........Fantastic writing! Rivals Charles Little storytelling in the "Dying of the trees". Please pass on to a friend.......Let the restoration of the north woods begin!

The Roadless Yaak : Reflections and Observations About One of Our Last Great Wild Places
Published in Paperback by The Lyons Press (September, 2003)
Author: Rick Bass
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Forever Yaak?
One of my experiences as a biologist for the U.S. Forest Service was a brief stint in Libby, Montana where I was a weekend visitor to the remote Yaak Valley championed by resident conservationist Rick Bass. My first pass through the valley was a shock. The sea of clearcuts from past timber sales were clearly alarming, and I vowed to return for further investigation. In 1994 I studied fish populations in the Libby area now, and then, a superfund site at the plywood mill where we installed a fish weir in an attempt locate the last remaining Bull trout, now an endangered species in the Pacific Northwest. The previous year there were two. In 1994 none returned to the Libby trap. Similar conditions exist on the Yaak River, a major tributary to the Kootenai. Though superficially "wild" in outward apearance this is devastated landscape due to economic activity that has ruined the landscape and the citizenry from asbestosis at the other superfund site, a vermiculite mine once operated by W.R. Grace Corporation of "A Civil Action" fame. They are gone now, but so is everything else the area once offered. "We don't mind looking at the clearcuts," my boss a dour wildlife biologist told me. It is a legacy that Mr. Bass will be hard pressed to reverse with the current forest management leadership. But we must try. I stand with him in that battle. The chapter in my book "Against a Strong Current," is called "Three Bull Trout."

Redefining Wilderness
A valuable collection of diverse voices bearing witness to the last of the last: a small but ecologically rich valley in the far northwest corner of Montana. Those familiar with the prolific writings (and rantings) of Yaak resident Rick Bass know that he can come off as a monomaniac, but this anthology proves his passion is grounded and infectious. Great contributions from prominent writers, poets, conservationists, biologists, politicians, and local residents provide a mosaic of visions on the endangered magic that is the Yaak. The primary lesson: the Yaak is a biological, not a recreational wilderness. It is a place that must be saved, not for your next summer vacation, but for the itinerent wolves, the few remaining stands of ancient larch, the inland redband trout, the resident horse loggers, 15 modest-sized 'gardens' of unroaded national forest, and a tiny (perhaps single digit)population of super-survivor grizzly bears.
Once gone, they are gone forever.

Bird Dog: The Instinctive Training Method
Published in Hardcover by Willow Creek Press (September, 2002)
Authors: Ben O. Williams and Rick Bass
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Excellant Bird Dog Training Book
This book is a great read for anyone who enjoys training bird dogs and wingshooting. Mr. Williams knows bird dogs and how to train them. He never sweats the small things or mistakes dogs make. He is very patient and kind. Once I started to read this book, I couldn't put it down. Thanks for the wisdom.

California Grizzly
Published in Paperback by University of California Press (November, 1996)
Authors: Tracy I. Storer, Lloyd P. Tevis, and Rick Bass
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To bear with unbearable sorrow
Though the work is forty years old, Storer and Tevis remains a valuable sourcebook for those wishing to understand the full nature of an extinction. It's all here: bear biology, relationships with Indians, relationships with Spaniards, stories of famous California Grizzlies, the ~real~ life and time of Grizzly Adams, and more. Whether you are a biologist, a historian, or just an armchair wildlife enthusiast, you will find California Grizzly a fascinating and necessary book.

The Sporting Road: Travels Across America in an Airstream Trailer, With Fly Rod, Shotgun, and a Yellow Lab Named Sweetzer
Published in Hardcover by St. Martin's Press (15 September, 1999)
Authors: Jim Fergus and Rick Bass
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A book for non-sportsmen, too
If you've ever thought about a fisherman's life on the banks of a trout stream or knee-deep in the Bahamian surf, or just contemplated why the seasons change colors, you might want to hitch a ride with Jim Fergus.

The self-described "hook-and-bullet hack" -- in fact, one of the most thoughtful hunting and fishing writers in America, a field editor for Sports Afield magazine -- travels "The Sporting Road" like Kerouac with a fly rod and a 12-gauge, where every stream is a stream of consciousness. As you cruise the blue highways from Washington to Florida, Fergus muses about hunters' patient wives, sharptail grouse, bamboo fly-rods, the coming of snow, bonefishing, Native American culture, lives worth living, the perils facing small towns, good dogs and good friends. There's a certain poetry that emanates from somewhere deep down, an echo of a primitive time, brought up-to-date by Airstream trailers, Coleman grills and, for better or worse, Eddie Bauer.

This is a good book for non-hunters and non-anglers, the most militant of whom assume avid sportsmen have little conscience or intellect. Fergus proves otherwise. He is an eloquent spokesman for the sporting life, not defensive and clearly thoughtful. If you've ever wanted to understand the allure of frigid mornings in high-plains cornfields, or soggy nights on the banks of an unknown river, or why a hunter would drive for two days for a fleeting glimpse of a bird too small for dinner on its own, read "The Sporting Road."

This book took me back to a time ... not long ago.
Unfortunatly, for me, I was well past middle age (55) before I ever ventured into the woods with a shotgun looking for some game.

I was very excited about my first hunt and after three days of not seeing any game, I realized that during that time, I had changed ... from a novice hunter to a man in love with the outdoors.

I may not have seen any game but I saw the trees (seemed like the first time) ... and the grass, the river, the lake, the fields, the sun and shadows, the clouds drifting overhead.

I listened to the wind, the sounds the trees make when they rub together, the rustling of the grass.

In spite of the fact that I carried a weapon and moved thru the woods in a preditory mode (or maybe because of it) I experienced a sense of peace and wonder that I hadn't known since I was a child ... and I loved every moment of it.

I felt safe, at one with my surroundings ... I felt like I belonged there.

Reading this book brought me back to that place ... and it made me long to get back in the woods as soon as I can.

This book spoke to my heart.

Thank you Mr. Fergus.

Jim Fergus is one of the few outdoor writers who has succeeded in "crossing the line" that very few of this literary ilk have ever accomplished -- Hemingway, as example, for one. He is no "hook and bullet writer." He is an American writer and, with his best-selling ONE THOUSAND WHITE WOMEN, an American novelist. Jim's talent lies in his ability to place himself, the storyteller, at a distance in order to come up close and personal with the people, places and inspirations that surround him. In this book, as in HUNTER'S ROAD, what he encounters while on the road, hunting birds, with his companion Lab, Sweetzer is his own, personal, high adventure. In recounting these things, Jim does so with the perception of a child -- full of excitement and wonderment -- yet crafted with care by the masterful wordsmith that he has proven to be. It is a potent combination -- and what makes all of Jim's works so unique and compelling. A MUST READ.

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