Beaverland: How One Weird Rodent Made America

Beaverland: How One Weird Rodent Made America

by Leila Philip
Beaverland: How One Weird Rodent Made America

Beaverland: How One Weird Rodent Made America

by Leila Philip


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Notes From Your Bookseller

For fans of the kind of natural history found in Hidden Life of Trees and Fuzz, Beaverland is a broad-sweeping narrative detailing the impact the beaver has had on the American landscape, from Native American tribes to the fur trade. Resonating with modern themes, this is a timely and facinating narrative that is packed with intrigue.


An intimate and revelatory dive into the world of the beaver—the wonderfully weird rodent that has surprisingly shaped American history and may save its ecological future. 

From award-winning writer Leila Philip, Beaverland is a masterful work of narrative science writing, a book that highlights, though history and contemporary storytelling, how this weird rodent plays an oversized role in American history and its future. She follows fur trappers who lead her through waist high water, fur traders and fur auctioneers, as well as wildlife managers, PETA activists, Native American environmental vigilantes, scientists, engineers, and the colorful group of activists known as beaver believers.
Beginning with the early trans-Atlantic trade in North America, Leila Philip traces the beaver’s profound influence on our nation’s early economy and feverish western expansion, its first corporations and multi-millionaires. In her pursuit of this weird and wonderful animal, she introduces us to people whose lives are devoted to the beaver, including a Harvard scientist from the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana, who uses drones to create 3-dimensional images of beaver dams; and an environmental restoration consultant in the Chesapeake whose nickname is the “beaver whisperer”.
What emerges is a poignant personal narrative, a startling portrait of the secretive world of the contemporary fur trade, and an engrossing ecological and historical investigation of these heroic animals who, once trapped to the point of extinction, have returned to the landscape as one of the greatest conservation stories of the 20th century. Beautifully written and impeccably researched, Beaverland reveals the profound ways in which one odd creature and the trade surrounding it has shaped history, culture, and our environment.

The New York Times Editors' Choice

NPR Science Friday Book Club Selection

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781538755204
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publication date: 01/30/2024
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 7,633
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

About The Author
Leila Philip is the author of award-winning books of nonfiction that have received national glowing reviews. A Guggenheim Fellow, she has also been awarded fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Philip was a contributing columnist at the Boston Globe and teaches in the Environmental Studies Program at the College of the Holy Cross, where she is a professor in the English Department.

Table of Contents

Author's Note xi

Prologue: Kisi Amiskw, the Story of Great Beaver xiii

Chapter 1 At the Beaver Pond 1

Chapter 2 On the Trap Line 13

Chapter 3 Looking for Astor in Astoria 39

Chapter 4 Man's Land 58

Chapter 5 Wild Fur 82

Chapter 6 Beaversprite 104

Chapter 7 Lewis Henry Morgan and the Great Beaver Dam 134

Chapter 8 Kitaiksisskstaki and the Story of the Beaver Bundle 151

Chapter 9 The Underwater People 164

Chapter 10 Beavers in the White Mountains 183

Chapter 11 The Beaverhood 197

Chapter 12 Stone Walls 203

Chapter 13 Thinking Like a Watershed 219

Chapter 14 Teale's Beavers 243

Chapter 15 Kintsugi 252

Epilogue: The Story of the Book 257

Sources 282

Acknowledgments 293

Index 299

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