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Chosen Country: A Rebellion in the West by…

Chosen Country: A Rebellion in the West

by James T. Pogue

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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Living in a state with a large part of it either National Forest, BLM, Reservation or National Park I found the premise of this book interesting. What I don't understand is the arrogance of people who think they own land meant for the use of all. Mr. Bundy and his refusal to pay his grazing fees is nothing more than a denial of the fact that he does not own the land his cattle use. The occupation of the Malheur Refuge was a disgrace - the damage done to the refuge will take years to recover. All for petulant temper tantrums. The gentleman did not have to die in this cause.

The book covers the anti government outlook of the men who think they can just ignore the state of things and interpret the Constitution in their own way. ( )
  BrokenTeepee | Apr 4, 2019 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Wikipedia entry: “From January 2 to February 11, 2016, the (Oregon Malheur Wildlife) refuge's headquarters was seized by armed protesters related to the 2014 Bundy standoff. For most of the occupation, law enforcement allowed the occupiers to come and go at will. At the conclusion, most of the leaders were arrested, and one was killed while traveling away from the refuge when the group he was leading attempting to evade a police road block. The remaining occupiers either departed or surrendered peacefully.”

“It was around this time I began to notice how much of what seems to be deep American authenticity is really just pageantry.” p 46

Writer, drifter and free spirit James Pogue embedded in the 2016 takeover of the Malheur Wildlife Refuge in order to explore the demands, backstory and personalities driving the rebellion.

The leaders of the takeover believe that the federal government does not have the authority under the Constitution to own federal lands or to police them with various federal agencies, such as the Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management. Such rights, they believe belong to the states which should govern them for economic interests of state inhabitants.

Some of this comes from a far right wing reading/misreading of the Constitution. Interestingly enough, it also comes from fundamentalist Mormon writings, that state that the US Constitution is a God-given and sacred document. And finally, it comes from what many see as government overstepping its authority in taking away generations-old rights to graze stock or run small mines on federal lands – often due to new environmental regulations.

>“Those people are the range cops and forest rangers of the BLM and Forest Service, and they're dealing with communities where some large percentage of people don't want them there, don't agree with the rules they're enforcing, where people have gotten progressively poorer over the last few decades, and have lots of guns. I always try to tell angry westerners that they could not possibly imagine how much harder they'd have it dealing with the police in most any black neighborhood in this country. I tell them that the resources they'd love to maintain the same access they'd always had to are now increasingly desired by others, and that there's going to have to be some give on their part. But this is a hard argument to make, because the sympathetic figures of angry ranchers have been manipulated very successfully by a network of oligarchical billionaires and major companies – because they're resource conglomerates with an interest in breaking down drilling and mining restrictions; or because they can use the image of beset ranchers facing off against the big bad feds to try to color all environmental regulation and any attempt to address the issue of climate change as tyrannous federal overreach.” p 33

The author inserts himself with weed and booze, learning to love four wheeling over desert landscape and guns, also while in the midst of grief and loss of a family member.

There are some interesting points in this book. I did learn from it – however the results are a somewhat chaotic picture. That's the word I would generally use to describe this book: the uprising itself was chaotic and only loosely bound; While the author sometimes has a glorious turn of phrase, his actions and writing also sometimes deserve the same chaotic adjective. ( )
  streamsong | Aug 25, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I’ve tried a couple of times at this point to get into this book...I usually like books wherein a journalist goes and explores a particular world within society that’s unfamiliar to me. The problem has been that this book just hasn’t grabbed me yet...I am having trouble wanting to hang out with the author himself, and therefore I’m having trouble being interested in the story. I still do intend to finish it, but it may take a while.
  benruth | Aug 18, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Dwight Hammond and Steven Hammon recently had their arson convictions pardoned by POTUS. The legal issues of this have been well covered by news media. But for a fuller understanding of what drives some people to break the law James Pogue's "Chosen Country: A Rebellion in the West" is a good source. I won an Early Reviewer's advance copy.

Environmentalists, current events followers, and others with an interest in social movements should find the book informative about the western rebellion and enlightening about its major personalities. The book is not for "snow-flake" minded readers or prudes. Pogue circulated among rebellious types in western states and quotes their raw language freely. Indeed his own digressions are peppered with obscenities. But it is worth the effort to hold your breath an read on. ( )
  Oporinus | Aug 10, 2018 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I enjoyed reading and would be willing to try another by Pogue.
However, the focus of this work is squarely placed on the author himself much more so than on the actual occupation or any of the key players involved. Readers looking for historical information on the subject may be disappointed. ( )
  llamagirl | Jul 30, 2018 |
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