• Where the Deer and the Antelope Play

  • The Pastoral Observations of One Ignorant American Who Loves to Walk Outside
  • By: Nick Offerman
  • Narrated by: Nick Offerman
  • Length: 11 hrs and 43 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (1,723 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

A humorous and rousing set of literal and figurative sojourns as well as a mission statement about comprehending, protecting, and truly experiencing the outdoors, fueled by three journeys undertaken by actor, humorist, and New York Times best-selling author Nick Offerman

Nick Offerman has always felt a particular affection for the Land of the Free - not just for the people and their purported ideals but to the actual land itself: the bedrock, the topsoil, and everything in between that generates the health of your local watershed. In his new book, Nick takes a humorous, inspiring, and elucidating trip to America's trails, farms, and frontier to examine the people who inhabit the land, what that has meant to them and us, and to the land itself, both historically and currently.  

In 2018, Wendell Berry posed a question to Nick, a query that planted the seed of this book, sending Nick on two memorable journeys with pals - a hiking trip to Glacier National Park with his friends Jeff Tweedy and George Saunders, as well as an extended visit to his friend James Rebanks, the author of The Shepherd's Life and English Pastoral. He followed that up with an excursion that could only have come about in 2020 - Nick and his wife, Megan Mullally, bought an Airstream trailer to drive across (several of) the United States. These three quests inspired some “deep-ish" thinking from Nick, about the history and philosophy of our relationship with nature in our national parks, in our farming, and in our backyards; what we mean when we talk about conservation; and the importance of outdoor recreation, all subjects very close to Nick's heart. 

With witty, heartwarming stories and a keen insight into the human problems we all confront, this is both a ramble through and celebration of the land we all love.

©2021 Nick Offerman (P)2021 Penguin Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic Reviews

An Amazon Best of the Month Pick

"I found the book both entertaining and inspiring...[it] has depths you may not expect from an actor/comedic performer/woodworker who goes to great lengths to entertain the audience, but also has me thinking about the choices I make as I live in the world." (John Warner, Chicago Tribune)

"Offerman's thoughtful and hilarious musings at the nexus of human life and nature, particularly through the lens of John Muir and Aldo Leopold ... serves another welcome reminder that nature is for all." (Smithsonian Magazine) 

What listeners say about Where the Deer and the Antelope Play

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Not the Guy I Expected...

How many times do I have to learn not to confuse an actor with the character he portrays? My misstep with Offerman and this book was, I suppose, due to the fact that he looks like Ron Swanson...he sounds like Ron Swanson...but this guy is no Libertarian. Again, my bad.

One reviewer stated that Nick Offerman could read the dictionary and hold his attention. I agree. His cadence and style are unique. Offerman writes well (though he is clearly in love with certain words. Like "ubiquitous," which he uses more than a few times...) and he IS humorous. His prose is funny and he delivers it well.

However...if you disagree with his very strong liberal views, consider this fair warning: Where the Deer and the Antelope Play is Nick Offerman's platform. There is no room for dissenting views, but his own--and with that comment, I humbly call attention to the contradiction in Offerman's opinions about this country and his place in it. Scattered throughout the book are references to his "winning lottery ticket of talent" and the income it provides, the vacation travel he enjoys, and his two luxury vehicles (a Ford F-250 and an SUV)--even commenting on their large "carbon footprint"--an admission that seems an odd addition to his constant lecturing about climate change.

Mr. Offerman actually professes great love for America before piling on heavily with a book-long list of every sin one has ever heard imagined that our country has committed and according to the book's narrative, continues to commit. Those who disagree are referred to as A******s and Dip****s. In other words, like many others who demand tolerance for their views, Nick Offerman doesn't "offer" any tolerance to anyone else who might question what he believes.

So, if you can manage to be tolerant of him, despite his intolerance for you, enjoy the enjoyable parts of Where the Deer and the Antelope Play. There are many and I did, but I see this book much as I see life itself: If one wishes to disagree and not be disagreeable, we must view others and their opinions like we do a buffet... If you don't like liver and the buffet has liver, don't leave the buffet in a huff. Just get the fish and enjoy your meal. Someone else will eat the liver.

34 people found this helpful

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By far his worst work to date.

I am a fan and as such was very much looking forward to enjoying this book. It is filled with his hateful musings about people who’s politics differ from his. He preaches open-mindedness and yet summarily dismisses people with different religious and political positions from that which he has inherited from his years in Hollywood. I can summarize this book for you: COVID had him board and stir crazy at home so he decided to white an entire book about two of his vacations and all the people he finds stupid. If that’s you bag, drop the coin. If not, read one of his earlier texts or some other author.

20 people found this helpful

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It's very political but well written

A tail of left wing propaganda and white guilt would be a more appropriate title.
if you are white or anything right of center you will probably not care for the frequent politicization of what would otherwise be a good story of a semi famous mans jaunts in the wilderness.
It was well written though

18 people found this helpful

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Bummed

I usually love reading books written by Nick Offerman. I’m bummed that he assumed the positions of left and right sides of politics, used the word dip**** to describe one side. Instead of trying to understand the beliefs of others, it felt like a form of bullying. He points out a lot of the worlds problems including diets, farming, energy, ect. If that’s what you’re interested in, which is what I thought the book was about, you will get this in about half of it. I also didn’t pick up on anything humorous which he usually ties in. Lots of negative energy. Seriously bummed.

16 people found this helpful

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Nick’s done it again

I’ve read all of Offerman’s works thus far and he’s almost convinced me he’s an author. This man really knows how to paint a word picture.

15 people found this helpful

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Daddy Nick can whisper sweet musings to me anytime

Absolutely loved this book. Mr. Offerman takes us on a hiking tour and even across the pond to visit a little homestead as he ponders life. He specifically shines a light onto the moral struggle of living our modern lives amongst thale natural plan. Looks at shopping local and producing local, including a dive into how we might ethically sourced our food while tending to the environment.

12 people found this helpful

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pious, verbose, and painfully tone deaf

This reproof was Offerman's attempt at tackling the disconnect between Americans and the natural splendor and resources of America. It's choked to the gills with references to, and vapid discussions of, American Conservation giants like Aldo Leopold backlit against tired descriptions of American scenery through the eyes of 3 wealthy, white, greying American "intellectuals".

This book does two things excellently: it further accentuates the disappointing truth that Offerman's writing style is little more than postmodern cynical twists on tired aphorisms mottled with the loosely sifted contents of a thesaurus...and that this wealthy, educated, and famous Hollywood actor had the privilege of spending the covid-19 pandemic vacationing in some of the least accessible American treasures while most Americans were at home living lives of hellacious tedium.

Offerman uses this tone deaf and privileged backdrop to look down his nose and well manicured beard at America's lack of appreciation for these sources of natural beauty without any true understanding of the barriers and obstacles that prevent the average American from visiting remote and far-flung locations such as Glacier National Park. Early in the book Offerman glibly regales the reader with his story of hiring an outfitter to assist his outdoor adventures, an expensive experience and privilege that few Americans can afford.

These moments and perspectives seem utterly tone deaf yet painfully predictable from a man in Offerman's station in life; the average American family in today's economy does not have the expendable income or time to visit remote National Parks that often have severe (and publicly known) accessibility issues. These painful truths about the state of the average American working class family, and many middle class families, are not on Offerman's radar as he is more inclined to summarize average Americans as intellectually starved consumers who only require an expensively outfitted hike with an American poet to unlock their appreciation for their nation's natural beauty and resources.

This off-putting leachate of 100+ years of American Romanticism and myopic attempts at enlightening Americans via condescension is served lukewarm in a novelty coffee mug with Offerman's traditional deadpan gravel.
If your desire is to learn more about natural beauty, resources, and your food in the United States I'd recommend reading the works of Aldo Leopold, Dan Flores, or visiting the works of those who earnestly seek to enlighten and educate their fellow Americans with sincerity like the up and coming African American forager and nature enthusiast Alexis Nikole Nelson.

9 people found this helpful

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More political than ever!

I usually endure his politics but most of the book is about how he hates Republicans and Christians with broad cliches. Funny for a man who talks about nuance

9 people found this helpful

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awful book

While hoping for a book more about time spent outdoors, the author uses large sections to state the need for more nuance and empathy in American political discourse. Which is not problematic and completely true. However he then immediately displays a total lack of both by labeling anyone that does not march in goosestep with his own political opinions as evil and valueless human beings. The level of self-delusion and hypocracy on display is monumental. The author has severely diminished the respect I had for him based on his previous body of work. He should frankly be ashamed of himself.

9 people found this helpful

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If you're looking to escape to the great outdoors

Skip this treatise on Offerman's politics. I was very much looking forward to listening to inspirational musings on the outdoors, but am honestly feeling tricked (as well as belittled by the overall political framing).

8 people found this helpful

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  • Lyle Montgomery
  • 09-07-22

LM

Unfortunately the author gets overly political which detracts from his stories and ruins the insight it was intended to have.

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  • Derek O'neill
  • 04-13-22

loved it

could listen to him all day long. some great thoughts on life and how we live and should live.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-15-22

A wonderful companion

I listened to this while on a long distance cycle ride, it was a wonderful companion.

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  • Mr GA Smith
  • 02-16-22

incredible book

such a good and informative book. Nick is an incredible writer and someone i could listen to more often

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 01-06-22

Calm, collected and inspiring.

just a wonderful ride unable to be summerised in 14 words. 3 words remaining. fin

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Sam Powell
  • 12-16-21

Incredible

This Book has finally given me a direction and a background knowledge of a feeling/ lifestyle my Wife and I have been striving towards. It has opened my eyes to the way that we should be living and altered my perception of the nature surrounding us.

Great lessons set amongst humorous life stories of the author. This book, in my opinion, is his best work to date and really cements in the basic lesson, that we should all just strive to be better humans.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-26-21

Listenable but disappointing

I have loved all of Nick Offerman's previous books and could listen to him talk all day, however I was really disappointed in this book. I felt the subject matter was really confused. There was a whole chapter dedicated to the COVID-19 lockdown including masks, views and politics in a book about the outdoors! The first part was a relatively uninteresting hike he and some of his celeb friends took. It was more written in the style what I would have expected in a blog rather than a book. There were parts which were really enjoyable and the strongest part was definitely part 2 about the farm in the UK. Overall I was really looking forward to this book but felt the content did not match the title and what I expected from the book.

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  • MR M D WHEELER
  • 11-24-21

Just a bit boring

Alot of this book feels like a padded word count. I like Nick Offerman. As an actor, who doesn't? As a writer I enjoyed most of Paddle your own Canoe. I enjoyed some of Gumption. I enjoyed some parts of this, but not enough parts for it to be satisfying.
In fact, faced with the prospect of another six hours of it, I returned it. By that time I'd already heard far too detailed an account of a flat battery, too many variations of people being granted legendary status for dubious reasons, and (and readers of his other books will already be used to this) constant adamant reminders of how happily married he is... I mean, Jesus Nick, we get it, but you go on about it so much its beginning to look like you're trying to convince yourself.

To be fair, he keeps writing these books, the media keep swooning over him, and they keep selling well - why mess with a winning formula? For me though, there just aren't the ideas necessary to justify this book. The writing is fluent, it's got plenty of wry observations, self-deprecating passages and, as you'd expect, the performance is accomplished. The latter loses a star as it gets a little smug at times. As a series of magazine pieces it would make very entertaining Sunday morning reading. As a full book, though, it's too big a portion of mediocre to sustain interest.

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  • bimble
  • 11-05-21

Very poignant given the state of the zeitgeist.

Some much needed hope/humour in the global fight against stupidity. Won't be liked by some people, but then again there not the sort of people who read or listen to books.

Thank you Mr Offerman, most pleasant.

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  • Ash
  • 11-05-21

A shallow and misleading book

I'm a fan of Nick Offerman, enjoying his previous writings and I tend to agree with him on most if not all points. I was thoroughly excited to listen to a book written and read by Nick on the topic of 'The outdoors' and countryside. I was thoroughly disappointed that Nick failed to keep on track with the topic at hand, providing shallow accounts on the titles topic.

There was little in the way of providing any interesting detail on the topic of conservation, farming, ecology or environment. instead Nick focused on discussing current US Politics (election, identity politics, etc), or providing the adult equivalent of 'what I got up to on my school holidays'.

the book opens up with Nick going on an adventure holiday with two friends and a guide, where they walked some trails and did some rafting. then he discusses his trips to see a friend on a farm in England, finally finishing off with a review of caravan (RV) parks in the USA. All sections were peppered with political topics irrelevant to the subject matter.

Overall the book felt like a series of blog entries on one man's various holidays and opinions on politics. Not at all what the book sells itself to be. I want to be very clear that overall I'd probably be quite happy listening to an audiobook on Nicks opinions of American current affairs, but that's not what I bought this book for and it is not what this book advertises itself as.

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  • Yolande Donovan
  • 08-18-22

Top audio book ever

Absolutely great. I loved his voice, his stories, makes me want to watch Devs again, climb a mountain trail and read James Herriot. Really enjoyable I hope he does more.

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  • Curtis de la Harpe
  • 06-03-22

A much needed listen for everyone.

Fantastic is the first word I can say about this book. I will be listening to it again soon.

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  • Emma
  • 04-28-22

Some political thoughts I had whilst walking

Maybe my expectations were high because I had literally just finished 'a walk in the woods' by Bill Bryson ( hilarious. A must read) but I was a bit disappointed with this book. I have listened to many of Offerman's books so I know that he is political at times, but it felt like there was far more divisive hating on the other team than there was quality stories about the outdoors. The outdoor stories were fine on the whole, but I kept finding myself rolling my eyes as yet another 10 minutes of 'how dumb are Republicans' rolled by. Usually a fan of his writings, but not so much on this occasion. Might have been better titled 'Some political thoughts I had whilst walking'.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 03-06-22

Thoroughly enjoyed

Nick’s discussion of life and the world during the Covid pandemic, through the lens of his cross country trip was enlightening. If only the world was full of more people like him. Also, his voice is delightful. Thanks Nick

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-27-21

A redoubtable Offerman

He’s done the impossible, saved the world. I do hope another such book isn’t needed, though I would read it.