Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version

Spring 2007


Published in GREAT PLAINS RESEARCH 17:1 (Spring 2007). Copyright © 2007 Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln.


Nowadays, the Blackland Prairies of north Texas are the kind of landscape most people think of as great for subdivisions and strip malls: generally flat, easily bulldozed, and not too far from Dallas-Fort Worth. Prairie Time: A Blackland Portrait traces a similar utilitarian vision of the prairie in 19th-century pioneer descriptions as well: good for plowing, grazing, and-once the buffalo and Native Americans are exterminated-not too far from outposts of commerce. The book serves as an environmental jeremiad for a place too easily seen as useful and thus too often ignored for preservation. Matt White gives readers a context in which to begin to value the Blackland Prairie by combining a heartfelt story with a thorough sense of its ecological wonder, our post-settlement history and its environmental impact on the land, and some remarkable stories of current preservationists working to find and save remnant gems of unplowed prairie.