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Book Heartsblood: Hunting, Spirituality, and Wildness in America


Heartsblood: Hunting, Spirituality, and Wildness in America

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Heartsblood: Hunting, Spirituality, and Wildness in America.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    David Petersen(Author),Ted Williams(Foreword)

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In this age of boneless chicken breasts and drive-thru Happy Meals, why do some humans still hunt? Is it a visceral, tooth-and-claw hunger for meat, tied in a primitive savage knot with an innate lust for violence and domination? Or might it be a hunger of an entirely different sort? And if so, what?.

In Heartsblood, writer and veteran outdoorsman David Petersen offers a thoroughly informed, unsettlingly honest, intensely personal exploration of this increasingly contentious issue. He draws clear distinctions between true hunting and contemporary hunter behavior, praising what's right about the former and damning what's wrong with the latter, as he seeks to render the terms "hunter" and "antihunter" palpable-to put faces on these much-used but little-understood generalizations.

Petersen looks at the evolutionary roots and philosophical underpinnings of hunting, and offers a compelling portrait of an "animistic archetype"-a paradigm for the true hunter/conservationist-that is in sharp contrast with today's technology-laden, gadget-loving sport hunter. He considers the social and ecological implications of trophy hunting and deconstructs the "Bambi syndrome"-the oversentimentalization of young animals by most Americans, including many hunters. He also explores gender issues in hunting, and highlights important qualities that are largely missing in today's mentoring of tomorrow's hunters.

Throughout, Petersen emphasizes the fundamental spiritual aspects of hunting, and offers numerous finely drawn and compelling first-person hunting narratives that explain and provide substance to his arguments. Along with that personal experience, he draws on philosophy, evolutionary theory, biology, and empirical studies to create an engaging and literate work that offers a unique look at hunting, hunters, and, in the words of the author, "life's basic truths.

Natural-history writer David Petersen's Heartsblood is not so much about hunting, although that controversial subject is an important part of the book, as is a lively, deeply intelligent discussion of what it means to be a human animal aware of what lies outside. Petersen suggests that a true engagement with the natural world requires a keen knowledge of its workings--of how water flows, of how animal populations wax and wane--and a recognition of the realities of life and death. Petersen brings an uncommonly broad perspective to this highly personal, passionate and deeply persuasive argument for responsible hunting. He reminds us that humans have been predominantly hunters for 99% of our species' history; by comparison agriculture occupies merely a brief moment in the human timeline and the era of shrink-wrapped supermarket meat even less. Biologically, we were built to hunt, he contends, a reality carved into the human genome as deeply as wildness imprints the genetic makeup of prey. Denying our genetic predisposition makes us less than fully human, he argues, which will undoubtedly strike many as radical. But Petersen is not a polemicist bent on pushing every citizen into hunting. In fact, he calls himself a "fence-straddler," an advocate of animal welfare (which he differentiates from animal rights) who has been criticized by antihunters as "rabidly prohunting" and knocked by hunters' rights advocates as "an anti in hunter's camouflage." Much of Petersen's argument (his delineation of the three different types of hunters, his criticism of holier-than-thou vegetarianism, his disdain of trophy hunting) treads a well-worn path, but this ambivalence lends his conclusions greater credibility. More unique and provocative is his contention that humans, far from evolving beyond the need to kill our own food, instead risk devolving when we avoid facing firsthand the deaths that sustain our survival. Though he goes overboard in strumming the mystical chord and seems at times too fond of inflated language, Petersen's ambitious analysis of this contentious issue is impressively well reasoned. (Sept.) Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Review Text

  • By Jason on October 4, 2013

    People often ask why I hunt. Do I enjoy killing animals? Anyone that knows me knows that love of all animals is at the core of what defines me yet I choose to participate in hunting and fishing, activities which often result in the death of one or more animals. I often find it hard to summarize my feelings in response to these queries but a lot of what Peterson writes seemingly makes us kindred spirits. His non religious but spiritual viewpoints speak to me and his anecdotal writing style is a joy to read. Much thought is given to the theme that taking a life must be done so responsibly and with reason beyond the thrill of the kill which many anti-hunters would have you believe must be what all hunters feel.For hunters and outdoorsmen looking for guidance to grasp what they feel and why they love the outdoors to non-hunters looking to understand why Bambi must die (a book reference), this book is highly recommended.

  • By Jeff C. on May 12, 2016

    An incredibly powerful and moving book for anyone who has ever felt a spiritual connection to wild, raw nature. The author's perspective on spiritual hunters reflects a phenomenal understanding of the man's place in this world as well as our genetic programming that outlines our inner alignment that modern living tends to ignore. One of my very favorite reads that motivated me to contact the Mr. Petersen in the twilight of his public life as an author a few years ago as well as to seek out his other writings (such as On the Wild Edge) and writings by his contemporaries and other authors who share and promote our mutual understanding and connection such as Coming Home to the Pleistocene by the late Paul Shepard and his widow Florence Shepard, personal friends of David Petersen. I wish there was a sixth star to give for this amazing book and cannot recommend it, or the author's other works, enough.

  • By Rhoadgunner on April 30, 2014

    Outstanding! The case is laidout to show how corprate profit and machismo have stole our instinctive right to hunt and made it about the profit, how the animal rights group are really about what they misunderstand than about what's best for the animals, but most of all this is a story about who we are and what made us what we and our fellow predators are, and what made our prey what they are.

  • By B. French on May 13, 2013

    This book provides a great perspective on hunting in the modern world with an emphasis on the importance of the process of the hunt, not the killing of an animal. A very in-depth discussion of the personal meaning of pursuing wild game in wild areas.

  • By Billy Thomas on May 27, 2015

    AWESOME!!!!A must read for everyone who loves the outdoors, nature and hunting but finds modern commercialized, techno centric "hunting" repellent.

  • By Beek2350 on October 23, 2015


  • By Pam Green on April 26, 2013

    Beautifully written - I do not hunt but have many friends and family sho do. This book has captivated me and those I have shared the book with.

  • By Guest on December 4, 2015

    Excellent read, I highly recommend this book

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