"[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."
"An entertaining sendup of idealistic politics and the fatal flaws of overweening self-interest."
"[Hongoltz-Hetling] reconstructs a remarkable, and remarkably strange, episode in recent history....The resulting narrative is simultaneously hilarious, poignant, and deeply unsettling."
—The New Republic
"Every once in a while, a book comes along that is so darkly comedic, with such a defined sense of place and filled with characters that range from the fascinating to the bizarre to the earnest, that partway through reading, it hits you: This has got to become a Coen brothers movie...Hongoltz-Hetling is a master of the turn of phrase. His voice is breezy and critical, with a finely tuned eye aimed at the absurdities as well as at the earnestness of the Free Town Project."
"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
“An alarming, eyebrow-raising and often hilarious true life tale of what happens when a fringe political ideology clashes with the real world, in ways which incorporate economics, conservation, zoology, parasitology, environmentalism, various types of psychology and animal behaviour studies, and more.”—BBC Science Focus