A tiny American town's plans for radical self-government overlooked one hairy detail: no one told the bears. 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, scarcely heard in the town's thick wilderness. The anything-goes atmosphere 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 the sometimes funny, sometimes terrifying tale of what happens when a government disappears into the woods. Complete with gunplay, adventure, and backstabbing politicians, this is the ultimate story of a quintessential American experiment -- to live free or die, perhaps from a bear.
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 Vermont.