Meat Eater: Adventures from the Life of an American Hunter

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Overview

An exploration of humanity’s oldest pursuit and its relevance today
 
Steven Rinella grew up in Twin Lake, Michigan, the son of a hunter who taught his three sons to love the natural world the way he did. As a child, Rinella devoured stories of the American wilderness, especially the exploits of his hero, Daniel Boone. He began fishing at the age of three and shot his first squirrel when he was eight and his first deer at the age of ...
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Meat Eater: Adventures from the Life of an American Hunter

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Overview

An exploration of humanity’s oldest pursuit and its relevance today
 
Steven Rinella grew up in Twin Lake, Michigan, the son of a hunter who taught his three sons to love the natural world the way he did. As a child, Rinella devoured stories of the American wilderness, especially the exploits of his hero, Daniel Boone. He began fishing at the age of three and shot his first squirrel when he was eight and his first deer at the age of thirteen. He chose the colleges he went to by their proximity to good hunting ground, and he experimented with living solely off wild meat. As an adult, he feeds his family from the food he hunts.
 
Meat Eater chronicles Rinella’s lifelong relationship with nature and hunting through the lens of ten hunts, beginning when he was an aspiring mountain man at age ten and ending as a thirty-seven-year-old Brooklyn father who hunts the remotest corners of North America. He tells of his struggling career as a fur trapper, in his teens, just as fur prices were falling; of a dalliance with catch-and-release steelhead fishing; of canoeing in the Missouri Breaks in search of mule deer just as the Missouri River was freezing up one November; and of hunting the elusive Dall sheep in the glaciated mountains of Alaska. Through each story, he grapples with themes such as the role of the hunter in shaping America, the vanishing frontier, the ethics of killing, the allure of hunting trophies, the responsibilities that human predators have to their prey, and the disappearance of the hunter himself as Americans lose their connection with the way their food finds its way to their tables. Hunting, Rinella argues, is intimately connected with our humanity; assuming responsibility for acquiring the meat that we eat, rather than entrusting it to proxy executioners, processors, packagers, and distributors, is one of the most respectful and exhilarating things a meat eater can do.
 
A thrilling storyteller with boundless interesting facts and historical information about the land, the natural world, and the history of hunting, Rinella also includes after each chapter a section of “Tasting Notes” that draws from his thirty-plus years of eating and cooking wild game, both at home and over a campfire. In Meat Eater he paints a loving portrait of a way of life that is part of who we are as humans and as Americans.
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Editorial Reviews

The New York Times Book Review
Truth be told, I have lived a life plenty comfortable with my disdain toward hunters and hunting. And then along comes Steven Rinella and his revelatory memoir…to ruin everything…The text is relentlessly vivid and clear…in the hands of a less gifted writer, the less appetizing parts of this book would seem thoughtless, barbaric and irredeemable. But again and again, his descriptive powers trump gruesomeness…Meat Eater offers an overabundance to savor.
—Bill Scheft
Publishers Weekly
Rinella (American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon) chronicles his evolution as a hunter (and trapper and fisherman) from shooting squirrels with a BB gun during his Michigan childhood to hunting deer in “the wildest corner of the Wild West” or tracking Dall sheep in the mountains of Alaska, while his wife and son are home in the civilized environs of New York City. Woven into Rinella’s thoughtful prose detailing his outdoor adventures (or misadventures, in some cases) are historical, ecological, or technical observations dealing with the landscape, the animals, or the manner in which the game is harvested. Also, almost every chapter is finished with short “Tasting Notes” that outline the culinary dos and don’ts for meat from game like squirrel, black bear, and mountain lion. Rinella has a passion for hunting and wilderness that comes across in his writing, and even if you don’t agree with his ideas on hunting lions with dogs or catch-and-release fishing you can’t help pondering the arguments he makes. And that seems to be the point of the book, to make you think—about your relationship with nature, about what you eat and why you eat it—and if that’s Rinella’s motivation, this book succeeds. B&w photos. (Sept.)
Kirkus Reviews
TV host and outdoorsman Rinella (American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon, 2008, etc.) contemplates the hunter's place in modern society while reliving his favorite hunting trips. Before committing to the writing life, the author made a serious attempt at carving out a career as a fur trapper like his frontier hero Daniel Boone. Even though that endeavor fell through, the kid who grew up bagging squirrels, muskrats and beavers would not abandon the hunt. Instead, he found other ways to devote much of his life to stalking bighorn sheep, black bears, mountain lions and the like. At one point, he even managed to successfully split his time between college and subsistence hunting. While Rinella has taken more than a few trophies along the way, his excursions into the great outdoors have mainly been about feasting on wild game at the conclusion of each hunt--and he's eager to share. Relentlessly descriptive and endlessly evocative "tasting guides" at the close of each chapter help armchair hunters get a sense of what it might be like digging into their own heaping plate of camp meat, deer hearts or sun-dried jerky. Depending on the palate, readers will find these gamey recipes either mouthwatering or gut-wrenching, but the writing is steadfastly satisfying and clear. A passage on the purported edibility of roasted beaver tail is especially entertaining. The author wisely allows philosophical questions pertaining to the validity of hunting and the efficacy of state-enforced regulations to simmer in the background, and he effectively shows nature in all its glory. An insider's look at hunting that devotees and nonparticipants alike should find fascinating.
From the Publisher
"An insider's look at hunting that devotees and nonparticipants alike should find fascinating." —-Kirkus
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385529815
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/4/2012
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.40 (w) x 9.38 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven Rinella is the author of American Buffalo: In Search of a Lost Icon, which was the winner of the Sigurd Olson Nature Writing Award, and The Scavenger’s Guide to Haute Cuisine. He is the host of the television show MeatEater on the Sportsman Channel, and was the host of the Travel Channel’s The Wild Within, which was nominated for a James Beard Award. His writing has appeared in such publications as Outside, Field and Stream, The New Yorker, The New York Times, Vogue, Men’s Journal, and Salon. Born and raised in Michigan, he currently lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Standing Ground 3

Chapter 2 Stirring the Limbs 21

Tasting Notes: Squirrel 39

Chapter 3 Tangle Stake 43

Tasting Notes: Beaver 61

Chapter 4 Low and to the Right 65

Tasting Notes: Heart 83

Chapter 5 The Otter 87

Tasting Notes: Jerky 102

Chapter 6 Communion 106

Tasting Notes: Black Bear 122

Chapter 7 Playing with Food 126

Tasting Notes: Salmon 150

Chapter 8 Freeze-up 153

Tasting Notes: Deer 169

Chapter 9 The Head on My Shelf 174

Tasting Notes: Camp Meat 198

Chapter 10 Killing Proper 204

Tasting Notes: Mountain Lion 221

Chapter 11 The Remains 224

Acknowledgments 235

Research Notes and Suggestions for Further Reading 237

Index 239

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 13 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(10)

4 Star

(2)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

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1 Star

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Sort by: Showing all of 13 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 18, 2013

    Rose to john

    Our book im back. Ps my sis lacys waiting for you mariah at death by se.x res 19

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2013

    Heaven

    She sits and cries

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2013

    Toms is back

    Hy

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2013

    Safires final goodbye

    Ive kept this secret but i cant keep it much longer....i have heart cancer and a brain tumor so i only have a few weeks to live....im sorry ill miss yall maybe ill come and visit but otherthan that i have to do chemo

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 10, 2013

    Lichentail

    Sniffs out a vole and pounces on it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 1, 2013

    It was OK

    I am a hunter & fisherman. Not sure what I was expecting with this book whn I bought it. His stories were interesting. I didn;t quite have the religious experience the authger has had in the outdoors.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2013

    Great read. Inspiring.

    After reading this book I was filled with the excitement I felt as a child when I was on my first hunt. The book has awakened in me the urge to set aside my busy corporate life and get back to the things that make me feel alive. Im excited to share my knowledge and these experiences with my own son.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2012

    What

    What the heck is that supposed to mean

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 29, 2012

    MAIN CAMP

    Golddropstar

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 1, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 18, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 5, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

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