By Tina Jordan
December 10, 2008 at 05:00 AM EST

American Buffalo

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The lottery that journalist Steven Rinella won in 2005 wasn’t an ordinary one: He didn’t score money, or a car, but the right to hunt buffalo in the Alaskan wilderness. As he drags a carcass across the frozen terrain, dodging wolves and grizzlies who smell the ? fresh meat, Rinella places his journey in context with buffalo hunters of the last 14,000 years in American Buffalo. The history lesson — never dull — is studded with bizarre buffalo facts. (Did you know that burning buffalo dung smells a little like cinnamon and cloves? Or that there was an actual model for the buffalo-head nickel?) The story of our country, Rinella shows, is inextricably intertwined with the story of this animal. A?

American Buffalo

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