Montana State University

‘The Revenant’ author lectures Oct. 16, continues MSU series about North American West

October 3, 2017 -- MSU News Service

Michael Punke, author of “The Revenant” who is also a former deputy U.S. Trade Representative and U.S. Ambassador to the World Trade Organization, will give the second talk in the Center for Western Lands and Peoples’ Perspectives on the American West Lecture Series on Oct. 16. Photo courtesy of Center for Western Lands and Peoples’ Perspectives on the American West.

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Michael Punke, author of “The Revenant” who is also a former deputy U.S. Trade Representative and U.S. Ambassador to the World Trade Organization, will give the second talk in the Center for Western Lands and Peoples’ Perspectives on the American West Lecture Series on Oct. 16.

Punke's lecture, "Last Stand: George Bird Grinnell, the Battle to Save the Buffalo and the Birth of the New West" is set for 6 p.m. at the Museum of the Rockies' Hager Auditorium and is free and open to the public. It will be preceded by a book-signing at 5:30 p.m. and followed by a reception, both in the museum’s lobby. Doors open at 5:15 p.m.

Punke will discuss the saga of George Bird Grinnell, a scientist, journalist, hunter and a conservationist, who led the battle to save the buffalo from extinction and gave birth to the American conservation movement. In the final decades of the 19th century, an American buffalo herd once numbering 30 million was reduced to 23 animals. Fighting in the pages of magazines, in Washington’s halls of power and in the frozen valleys of Yellowstone National Park, Grinnell and his allies sought to preserve the icon. Grinnell shared his adventures with some of the greatest and most infamous characters of the American West—from John James Audubon and Buffalo Bill to George Armstrong Custer and Theodore Roosevelt.

Punke is currently the vice president for Global Public Policy at Amazon Web Services. From 2010 to 2017, he served as Deputy U.S. Trade Representative and U.S. Ambassador to the World Trade Organization in Geneva. He had lead responsibility for international trade negotiations including the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the Trade in Services Agreement, the Environmental Goods Agreement and all negotiations under the auspices of the WTO.

From 2003 to 2010, Punke lived in Missoula, where he continues to keep his family home, and worked as a writer, consultant and adjunct professor at the University of Montana. His novel, "The Revenant," served as the basis for the award-winning film of the same name. "The Revenant" has been translated into more than 20 languages and was an international bestseller, including four weeks as a No. 1 New York Times bestseller. He has also written several screenplays, as well as two works of narrative nonfiction: "Fire and Brimstone: The North Butte Mining Disaster of 1917," published in 2007, and "Last Stand: George Bird Grinnell, the Battle to Save the Buffalo, and the Birth of the New West," published in 2009.

The American West lecture series features experts from around the country discussing the history, literature and culture of the West; issues affecting the wildlife and fisheries of the region; and the West’s geography, geology and resources. The series is co-sponsored by the College of Arts and Architecture and the Burton K. Wheeler Center and is a program of the Center for Western Lands and Peoples, an interdisciplinary research center within the College of Letters and Science that is focused on the places and peoples of the Western United States and Canada.

Jody Sanford, jody.sanford@montana.edu, 406-994-7791