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A Libertarian Walks Into a Bear

A Libertarian Walks Into a Bear

The Utopian Plot to Liberate an American Town (And Some Bears)

How the tiny town of Grafton, NH, became a radical experiment in small government–until the bear attacks started

Once upon a time, a group of libertarians got together and hatched the Free Town Project, a plan to take over an American town and completely eliminate its government. In 2004, they set their sights on Grafton, NH, a barely populated settlement with one paved road.

When they descended on Grafton, public funding for pretty much everything shrank: the fire department, the library, the schoolhouse. State and federal laws became meek suggestions, barely heard in the town’s thick wilderness.

The new rules soon caught the attention of Grafton’s neighbors: the bears. Freedom-loving citizens ignored hunting laws and regulations on food disposal. They built a tent city, in an effort to get off the grid. The bears smelled food and opportunity.

A Libertarian Walks Into a Bear is a sometimes funny, sometimes frightening tale of what happens when a government disappears into the woods. Complete with gunplay, adventure, and backstabbing politicians, this is a quintessentially American story, a bearing of our national soul.
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Genre: Nonfiction / Political Science / American Government / Local

On Sale: September 15th 2020

Price: $15.99 / $19.99 (CAD)

Page Count: 288

ISBN-13: 9781541788480

What's Inside

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Reader Reviews

Meet The Author: Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling

Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling is a freelance journalist specializing in narrative features and investigative reporting. He has been named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, won a George Polk Award, and been voted Journalist of the Year by the Maine Press association, among numerous other honors. His work has appeared in Foreign Policy, USA Today, Popular Science, Atavist Magazine, Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, the Associated Press, and elsewhere. He lives in New Hampshire.

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Praise

"[A] witty and precisely observed debut....Hongoltz-Hetling skillfully probes shortcomings and ironies in the libertarian philosophy....The result is an entertaining and incisive portrait of political ideology run amok."
Publishers Weekly
"An entertaining sendup of idealistic politics and the fatal flaws of overweening self-interest."
Kirkus
"Since the beginning, Americans have been fighting about the balance between individual liberty and the common good. Hongoltz-Hetling shows what can happen when one rural New Hampshire town went to the libertarian extreme in this madcap tale that zig-zags between tragedy and farce, with the possibility of being eaten."—Colin Woodard, New York Times-bestselling author of American Nations and Union
"A Libertarian Walks Into a Bear is a finely drawn portrait of one freedom-loving town, and a joyful romp through the dark corners of the American psyche. Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling is a gifted writer with a high-powered radar for the strange details of American life. He skillfully portrays the dreamers and eccentrics who populate Grafton, and the bears lurking just beyond its treelines. At turns hilarious and alarming, this story had me firmly in its jaws from the opening pages."—Evan Ratliff, author of The Mastermind
"Matthew Hongoltz-Hetling's wild and wonderful blend of small-town America and large-scale ideals, imparted with humor and insight reminiscent of Sarah Vowell and Bill Bryson, is an unpredictable and endlessly fascinating feat of immersive reporting, filled with singular characters and doughnut-eating bears."—Michael Finkel, bestselling author of The Stranger in the Woods
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