An important collection of personal essays from one of the most widely published American environmental writers addresses the effects of ranching on the environment. Acclaimed nature writer Linda M. Hasselstrom sees herself as a rancher who writes—a definition that shapes the tone and content of her writing. Now owner of the South Dakota cattle ranch where she grew up, Hasselstrom lives in intimate contact with the natural world. "Nature is to me both home and office. Nature is my boss, manager of the branch office—or ranch office—where I toil to convert native grass into meat. . . . If I want to keep my job as well as my home, I pay attention not only to Nature's orders, but to her moods and whims." She writes knowingly of the rancher's toil and of the intelligence and dignity of the wild and domesticated creatures that share the prairie grassland she calls home. As one who knows and loves the land, Hasselstrom appreciates the concerns of environmental activists and understands that responsible ranchers can play a role in nurturing a healthy rural ecosystem. Rich in detail, humor, and pathos, these essays offer wry commentary on the scope of human folly and the even greater human potential for community and empathy. "Only people who live in the country," she writes, "could form a relationship with nature so intimate that they feel concern for one lonely duck. People who live in cities . . . only glimpse nature from high windows or speeding vehicles. Even wilderness lovers who probe deeply are only passing through. We who live on the land truly live within the land, each of our lives only one among the other inhabitants of the place." These are essays to read with wonder and delight, to relish and ponder. Available in hardcover and paperback.
Acclaimed nature writer Linda Hasselstrom sees herself as a rancher who writes. Now owner of the South Dakota cattle ranch where she grew up, she lives in daily intimate contact with the natural world. She writes knowingly of the rancher's toil and of the intelligence and dignity of the animals she tends, especially the much-maligned cow, as well as the wild creatures that share the prairie grassland she calls home. Her voice rings with the ardent common sense of the one who knows and loves the land, who appreciates the concerns of environmental activists but also knows the role that responsible ranchers can play in nurturing a healthy rural ecosystem. Linda Hasselstrom writes, ranches, and conducts writing retreats on the South Dakota ranch homesteaded by her grandfather, a Swedish cobbler, in 1899. She is the author of several books.
Recently mentioned in Ron Steffens article on his favorite books of the last twenty-five years (Bloomsbury Review, December 2005): "Linda Hasselstrom's Between Grass and Sky: Where I Live and Work takes the honor of that work and gives a vision of ranchlands where working and living are intertwined."
"There are those who would argue that the viewpoints of a rancher and those of a nature lover are incompatible. Hasselstrom would not be among them, for she embraces Nature-with-a-capital-N as her home, her workplace, her inspiration, and her mission. Self-described as a 'rancher-slash-writer,' Hasselstrom, in these personal essays, details with pragmatic honesty economic, environmental, educational, and ethical issues confronting today's independent rancher. Beleaguered by the plagues of modern society, ranching is endangered as much by the inflamed rhetoric of ersatz environmental groups as it is by land developers intent on suburbanizing America's open spaces. With impassioned eloquence, Hasselstrom takes on all comers, from animal-rights activists to agribusiness conglomerates and eco-terrorists to militant vegetarians, patiently explaining facts, refuting arguments, defending opposing philosophies in logical, sensible, rational terms. 'You don't know what it's like,' she cautions and invites those quick to condemn to walk a mile in her rattlesnake-repelling high-top boots before castigating a way of life on which this country once thrived and must protect in order to do so again." —Carol Haggas, Booklist
"No one has chronicled more fully what it means to be a daughter of the Ranching West than Linda Hasselstrom." —Teresa Jordan
"Hasselstrom’s . . . book becomes a landscape as well as a gathering, a place that joins across time and space." —The Bloomsbury Review
"Direct, earthy, funny, impassioned and provocative, this book offers a . . . field guide to rural life on the High Plains." —SueEllen Campbell
"...a splendid sampling of her prose, by turns brash, provocative, passionate, chilling, and funny...Linda Hasselstrom writes with a naturalist's perceptive eye, an environmentalist's concern, and a rancher's long and practical experience of working and living on the land. Between Grass and Sky belongs on the bookshelves of all who care about our American prairies." - Story Circle Book Reviews