Betsy Gaines Quammen

Author of American Zion: Cliven Bundy, God, and Public Lands in the West.  Environmental historian and writer with a background in international conservation work, land issues, science denialism, and anti-government agitation in the American West.

Betsy Gaines Quammen is a historian and conservationist. She has studied various religious traditions over the years, with particular attention to how cultures view landscape and wildlife. The rural American West, pastoral communities of northern Mongolia, and the grasslands of East Africa have been her main areas of interest.

Radicalization in the west impacts the entire country. It’s militia, but it’s also an alarming radicalization in rural communities that keeps growing. Her book, American Zion was named top ’50 Books to Understand the West’ by The Colorado Sun.

She is also the acclaimed author of True West: Myth and Mending on the Far Side of America.

Topics include:

American Rebel: A Religious War over Federal Land

Fever in America: Infection to Insurrection

Understanding the Misinformation Divide

Science denial

Conspiracy theory


Public land and wildlife conservation

Religiously influenced agitation

The history of rebellion in the American West from land use to COVID protocols/anti-vaxxer protests

National insurrection and sedition

Early Latter-day Saint Worldview and Radicalization

American Zion

Brilliant and electrifying….Gaines Quammen’s voice is bright, engaging and smart.

- Terry Tempest Williams author of Erosion

A fascinating primer on the twisted and nefarious legacy of theology, entitlement conquest and patriarchy in the American West

- Florence Williams, author of The Nature Fix

Betsy Gaines Quammen has taken a deep, fascinating dive into a uniquely American brand of religious zealotry that poses a grave threat to our national parks, wilderness areas, wildlife sanctuaries, and other public lands. American Zion provides essential background for anyone concerned about the future of open space in the western United States. It also happens to be a delight to read.

- Jon Krakauer, author of Under the Banner of Heaven