From the 1830s onward, a succession of well-born Britons headed west to the great American wilderness to find adventure and fulfillment, bringing along their dogs, sporting guns, valets, and all the attitudes and prejudices of their class. In fascinating and often comic detail, Prairie Fever explores why the West had such a strong romantic appeal for them at a time when their inherited wealth and passion for sport had no American equivalent.
"A deeply researched and finely delivered look at what can best be described as a counterintuitive slice of American history."—Washington Post
"A lost—and deeply weird—world ... has been lovingly excavated and brought back to life."—NYTBR
"Something of the magic of the Great West—its big skies and great rivers and prairies filled with game—can be found in Peter Pagnamenta's compelling narrative of the mania for the prairie grasslands that swept British aristocrats in the middle of the 19th century. Grand solitary travelers came first and their tales of adventure brought scores and then hundreds of others—lords and younger sons needing a way to live and retired military officers and men hoping to get rich and sportsmen who wanted a grizzly and dreamers who imagined a ranching kingdom might end boredom once and for all. It's an extraordinary story, told in Prairie Fever with the kind of energy that makes you want to drop everything and go."—Tom Powers