Great Plains: America's Lingering Wild

Front Cover
University of Chicago Press, 2009 - Nature - 260 pages
7 Reviews

The Great Plains were once among the greatest grasslands on the planet. But as the United States and Canada grew westward, the Plains were plowed up, fenced in, overgrazed, and otherwise degraded. Today, this fragmented landscape is the most endangered and least protected ecosystem in North America. But all is not lost on the prairie. Through lyrical photographs, essays, historical images, and maps, this beautifully illustrated book gets beneath the surface of the Plains, revealing the lingering wild that still survives and whose diverse natural communities, native creatures, migratory traditions, and natural systems together create one vast and extraordinary whole.


Three broad geographic regions in Great Plains are covered in detail, evoked in the unforgettable and often haunting images taken by Michael Forsberg. Between the fall of 2005 and the winter of 2008, Forsberg traveled roughly 100,000 miles across 12 states and three provinces, from southern Canada to northern Mexico, to complete the photographic fieldwork for this project, underwritten by The Nature Conservancy. Complementing Forsberg’s images and firsthand accounts are essays by Great Plains scholar David Wishart and acclaimed writer Dan O’Brien. Each section of the book begins with a thorough overview by Wishart, while O’Brien—a wildlife biologist and rancher as well as a writer—uses his powerful literary voice to put the Great Plains into a human context, connecting their natural history with man’s uses and abuses.


The Great Plains are a dynamic but often forgotten landscape—overlooked, undervalued, misunderstood, and in desperate need of conservation. This book helps lead the way forward, informing and inspiring readers to recognize the wild spirit and splendor of this irreplaceable part of the planet.


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Review: Great Plains: America's Lingering Wild

User Review  - Carolyn - Goodreads

I can't possibly begin to express how much I enjoyed this incredible book. Unlike most photography books, the text was as illuminating as the pictures. Absolutely incredible! Read full review

Review: Great Plains: America's Lingering Wild

User Review  - Cathy - Goodreads

A visually stunning book that explores some of the mythology and allure of the Great Plains. Indeed, this book is a photographic homage to this vast acreage and terrain, but at the same time it is ... Read full review

About the author (2009)

Michael Forsberg is a Nebraska native and a professional photographer whose images have appeared in publications including Audubon, National Geographic, Natural History, National Wildlife, and in books published by National Geographic and Smithsonian. He is a Fellow with the International League of Conservation Photographers and a charter member of the North American Nature Photographers Association. He is also the author of On Ancient Wings: The Sandhill Cranes of North America. To learn more about his work, visit

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