Fear and Freedom at the Oregon Standoff
Bloomsbury Publishing, 9781635571202, 448pp.
Publication Date: July 2, 2019
An “epic exploration” of the 2016 right-wing Oregon Occupation-"an excellent microcosm by which we might better understand our difficult national history and distressing political moment” (Maggie Nelson).
In 2016, a group of armed, divinely inspired right-wing protestors led by Ammon Bundy occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in the high desert of eastern Oregon. Encamped in the shadowlands of the republic, insisting that the Federal government had no right to own public land, the occupiers were seen by a divided country as either dangerous extremists dressed up as cowboys, or as heroes insisting on restoring the rule of the Constitution. From the Occupation's beginnings, to the trials of the occupiers in federal court in downtown Portland and their tumultuous aftermaths, Shadowlands is the resonant, multifaceted story of one of the most dramatic flashpoints in the year that gave us Donald Trump.
Sharing the expansive stage with the occupiers are a host of others-Native American tribal leaders, public-lands ranchers, militia members, environmentalists, federal defense attorneys, and Black Lives Matter activists-each contending in their different ways with the meaning of the American promise of Liberty. Gathering into its vortex the realities of social media technology, history, religion, race, and the environment-this piercing work by Anthony McCann offers us a combination of beautiful writing and high-stakes analysis of our current cultural and political moment. Shadowlands is a clarifying, exhilarating story of a nation facing an uncertain future and a murky past in a time of great collective reckoning.
About the Author
Praise For Shadowlands: Fear and Freedom at the Oregon Standoff…
"Rewarding . . . shreds the reductive narrative foisted upon the occupation, retrieving its participants from caricature." - The Oregonian
"A momentous and important non-fiction debut . . . The core subject is nothing less than the nature of American identity and the concept of freedom. Admirably, McCann’s ethos is not that of a neutral bystander but of a truth seeker. He thinks through viewpoints with depth and empathy, but he also takes stands and calls out the problematic for what it is. . . . This is a heavily researched and thoughtful book, written with detail and care, that asks big questions of the reader and of the country." - starred review, Booklist
"SHADOWLANDS offers fascinating insights and poses interesting questions. . . . a valuable glimpse at a group of often overlooked people contributing to the great divide in American life." - Minneapolis Star Tribune
"A riveting in-depth investigation . . . McCann’s arresting and brilliant firsthand account is required reading for anyone interested in the ideological gap between the American Left and Right." - starred review, Publishers Weekly
"An insider account of the Malheur occupation. From the lead-up to the occupation, through the trials and the aftermath, this will be the defining chronicle of a cultural and political moment we could all do better to understand." - Source Weekly
"It is a different tone. If those [other books] are more from that immersion journalism, seat-of-the-pants, gonzo journalism this is more a poetic touch. . . . He takes a different approach that readers might find ‘refreshing’." - State of Nevada, Nevada Public Radio
"Wonderful journalistic detailed history, with deep-rooted significance that the writer helps us comprehend both intellectually and viscerally." - Shawangunk Journal
"SHADOWLANDS offers fascinating insights and poses interesting questions. . . . a valuable glimpse at a group of often overlooked people contributing to the great divide in American life" - Minneapolis Star Tribune
"The story Shadowlands tells is compulsively fascinating, and an excellent microcosm by which we might better understand our difficult national history and distressing political moment. McCann’s magnificent prose, ever-questing intellect, wry humor, and uncommon empathy for human and non-human forms of life alike make Shadowlands a truly rare and stunning achievement." - Maggie Nelson, National Book Critics Circle Award winning author of THE ARGONAUTS
"The SoCal-based poet brings vivid lyricism to Shadowlands, an account of the 2016 right-wing occupation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge." - Portland Monthly
"With empathy, poetry, and a keen, clear-eyed sense of the weirdness of it all, Anthony McCann goes far beyond the cartoon version of the Malheur occupation that we all watched on the news. Shadowlands is a powerful reckoning with history and all the Big American Words—freedom, democracy, sovereignty—that echo through the silence and violence of the American West." - Ben Ehrenreich, author of THE WAY TO THE SPRING
"Anthony McCann knows the Western past has not vanished; it has just gotten weirder. Shadowlands takes us down a Western rabbit hole where a delusional settler story staged for the internet on sacred Native ground illuminates the United States we now inhabit. This is a classic American story." - Richard White, Pulitzer Prize finalist for RAILROADED
"As cable-news programmers and even congressmen find their profit in driving ordinary Americans and right-wing paramilitaries ever closer to civil war, Anthony McCann’s provocative, empathetic, and patriotic Shadowlands is our alarm bell in the night." - Woody Holton, author of National Book Award finalist UNRULY AMERICANS AND THE ORIGINS OF THE CONSTITUTION
"What makes Shadowlands exceptional is not only that it provides a critically informed look at the Oregon standoff, but how it offers a clear exegesis of the accumulated history that has gone into forming the American West and, by extension, America itself." - Brian Evenson, author of A COLLAPSE OF HORSES and THE WAVERING KNIFE