A Libertarian Walks Into a Bear: The Utopian Plot to Liberate an American Town (And Some Bears)

A Libertarian Walks Into a Bear: The Utopian Plot to Liberate an American Town (And Some Bears)

by Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling


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A tiny American town's plans for radical self-government overlooked one hairy detail: no one told the bears.

Once upon a time, a group of libertarians got together and hatched the Free Town Project, a plan to take over an American town and completely eliminate its government. In 2004, they set their sights on Grafton, NH, a barely populated settlement with one paved road.

When they descended on Grafton, public funding for pretty much everything shrank: the fire department, the library, the schoolhouse. State and federal laws became meek suggestions, scarcely heard in the town's thick wilderness.

The anything-goes atmosphere soon spread into the neighboring woods. Freedom-loving citizens ignored hunting laws and regulations on food disposal. They built a tent city in an effort to get off the grid. And it all caught the attention of Grafton's neighbors: the bears.

A Libertarian Walks Into a Bear is the sometimes funny, sometimes terrifying tale of what happens when a government disappears into the woods. Complete with gunplay, adventure, and backstabbing politicians, this is the ultimate story of a quintessential American experiment — to live free or die, perhaps from a bear.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781541788497
Publisher: PublicAffairs
Publication date: 09/14/2021
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 63,724
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling is a freelance journalist specializing in narrative features and investigative reporting. He has been named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, won a George Polk Award, and been voted Journalist of the Year by the Maine Press association, among numerous other honors. His work has appeared in Foreign Policy, USA Today, Popular Science, Atavist Magazine, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, the Associated Press, and elsewhere. He lives in Vermont.

Table of Contents

Prologue: The Firefighter and the Bear 1

Book 1 Verge of Wild

1 A Feline Feeding 7

2 A Taxing Tradition 13

3 The Logical Libertarian 23

4 A Quartet of Colonists 29

5 A Rousing Response 35

6 The Converted Caretaker 43

7 The Blackness of the Bear 49

8 The Scrappy Survivalist 55

9 The Animal Admirers 63

10 Fanning Freedom 69

11 The Principled Pastor 75

12 A Battle with Bears 83

Book 2 Rugged Growth

1 Unlocking Utopia 91

2 A History of Heat 97

3 The Pastor Purplifies 103

4 The Campfire Clash 111

5 A Deluge of Doughnuts 121

6 The Survivalists Struggle 129

7 A Bureaucracy of Bears 137

8 The Caretaker Confined 145

9 The Hidden Hitchhiker 153

10 The Pastor's Plan 163

11 A Bear's Belligerence 169

Book 3 Boundless Ruins

1 A Huddle of Hunters 179

2 The Assault's Aftermath 185

3 A Pressing of Poachers 191

4 The Pastor Is Pushed 197

5 A Neighbor Annoyed 205

6 The Pastor's Price 209

7 A Propagation of Prerogative 217

8 The Respectable Riot 225

9 An Experiment Ends 231

10 A Denouncement of Doughnuts 237

11 A Jeopardous Journey 241

12 The Freedoms Forgotten 247

Epilogue: The Firefighter and the Bear 251

Acknowledgments 255

Bibliography 257

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