In a Land of Awe

Finding Reverence in the Search for Wild Horses

In a Land of Awe

Finding Reverence in the Search for Wild Horses

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A stirring invitation to awe--and to what it means to be wild.

Out on the edges of our frantic twenty-first-century nation, bands of wild horses stand nestled together, calmly nuzzling each other to maintain the bonds of family. Prairie hills unfurl around them, and the sky provides their shelter. In the same states where factories churn, offices bustle, and cell phones demand our attention, remote places of solace and beauty rest, mostly undiscovered, in a parallel world that lies closer than we often imagine.

Through the lens of the wild mustang, social scientist and poet Chad Hanson gives us new ways to see and meaningfully engage our world as we enter new considerations about how we understand animals and our landscapes, our history, and ourselves. What is a wild animal? How do feelings of reverence reconnect us with nature? What can we learn from our wisdom traditions? And in the end, what would it look like if we managed public land with the common good in mind? With wisdom gathered from the histories of the American West, geography, philosophy, theology, and sociology, we meet awe anew. In the tradition of the great literary and nature writers, In a Land of Awe serves as a plea for what we stand to lose if we don't find the courage to protect the planet's most beautiful, and vulnerable, others.


2023 ASLE Book Award Finalist


"In a Land of Awe is the author's voyage of discovery--part poetry, part history, part philosophy, part adventure. Wild horses are transformative, and Chad Hanson describes how they transformed him from avid cyclist and fly fisherman to wild horse watcher, admirer, and advocate. So beautifully written it will transport the reader, as it did for this wild horse lover."

Ginger Kathrens, founder of the Cloud Foundation, Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, wild horse adopter, and documentarian

"Chad Hanson has written a wonderful book exploring his fascination with the wild horses of the American West, taking readers on a journey inside the lives of these magnificent animals and the wild places where they still live. Weaving together sociology, ecology, and history, Hanson explores the importance of a reverence for nature to human psychology, why wild horses inspire awe, and why saving them is essential to preserving the last vestiges of all that is wild in the West. An excellent read!"

Suzanne Roy, executive director, American Wild Horse Campaign

"Chad Hanson brings us into his encounters with wild horses so that we may examine the value of wildness in our lives, and the immense crater that will remain if it disappears. This examination of why and how wild horses enrich our society and our souls makes us consider what is really important."

Carol J. Walker, author of Wild Hoofbeats: America's Vanishing Wild Horses

"Tearfully delicate and deeply sincere, In a Land of Awe paints a lyrical portrait of what it feels like to experience the rich textures of the American West. It's a journey story that naturally intertwines the nuances of the issues it explores. Not only will readers be inspired to care; they'll be compelled to go out into nature in search of wonder and wild horses."

Ashley Avis, founder of Winterstone Pictures, president of the Wild Beauty Foundation, and writer/director of Disney's Black Beauty

"Hanson sets out to find the soul of the American West, through the majesty of open spaces and the magic of the wild horses that inhabit them. In a Land of Awe takes the reader on a journey through the human psyche and through enigmatic Western landscapes, with lyrical storytelling peppered with penetrating insights. A page-turner."

Eric Molvar, author and conservation professional

"In a Land of Awe offers a close look at the mysterious and fascinating world of wild horses. Walk with Chad Hanson on this journey. Find truth, beauty, and maybe even yourself on the way."

Clare Staples, founder and president, Skydog Ranch & Sanctuary

"Horses are amazingly sensitive sentient beings. Chad Hanson's beautifully written and highly personal In a Land of Awe does an outstanding job of informing readers about the awe-inspiring lives of wild horses in the West: their families and their futures. Readers will come away feeling deeply connected or reconnected with horses and their homes."

Marc Bekoff, PhD, author of Rewilding Our Hearts: Building Pathways of Compassion and Coexistence and A Dog's World: Imagining the Lives of Dogs in a World without Humans


"This book is much more than a read about bands of wild mustangs...this book is a meditation on the connection between ourselves and the boundless (and yet withering) nature around us."

Colorado Sun

"Hanson provides this well-reasoned, often poetic title, a paean to the wild horse in the United States.... Highly recommended for public libraries and lower-level undergraduate academic ones."

Library Journal

"In a Land of Awe offers a sweeping vista...equal parts travelogue, history/analysis...spiritual guide, and introspective diary...the book serves as an urgent appeal to understand the worth and dignity of wild horses."

Animal Welfare Institute

Product Info

  • Publisher Broadleaf Books
  • Format Hardcover
  • ISBN 9781506482194
  • eBook ISBN 9781506482200
  • Dimensions 6.63 x 8.75
  • Pages 219
  • Publication Date September 13, 2022