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Shadow of the Bear: Travels in Vanishing Wilderness

Shadow of the Bear: Travels in Vanishing Wilderness Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Around the world in pursuit of the beast we fear, revere, abuse, and adore.

Weve been meeting bears in the wilderness, and in our dreams, since the dawn of human history. Celebrated in art and myth since we began drawing on the walls of caves, they cast a long shadow over our collective subconscious. Wherever bears endure, they are an indicator of the health of their ecosystem. Their decline—some to the edge of extinction—foretells a bigger story: that of our planets peril.

In a series of remarkable journeys, Brian Payton travels the world in search of the eight remaining bear species. Along the way, he confronts poachers in the jungles of Cambodia, witnesses the cruelty of the bear bile trade in China, and delves into the politics of panda sex. From the reclusive spectacled bears of Peru to the man-eating sloth bears of India, Payton captures the power and beauty of these fascinating creatures while exploring their unique place within very different cultures. Vivid characters, exotic landscapes, and deft storytelling make for an unforgettable trek down the braided path of bear and human history.

Brian Payton has written for The New York Times, The Chicago Tribune, the Boston Globe, the Globe and Mail, and Canadian Geographic. He is the author of the novel Hail Mary Corner. He lives with his wife in Vancouver.
We have been meeting them in the wilderness, and in our dreams, since the dawn of human history. Immortalized in art and myth since we began drawing on the walls of caves, they cast a long shadow over our collective subconscious. Wherever bears endure, they are an indicator of the health of their ecosystem. Their decline—some to the edge of extinction—foretells a bigger story: that of our planet's peril.
 
In a series of remarkable journeys, Brian Payton travels the world in search of the eight remaining bear species. Along the way, he encounters poachers in the jungles of Cambodia, the cruelty of China's bear bile trade, and Canada's insatiable polar bear paparazzi. From the spectacled bears of a cursed Peruvian mountain to the man-eating sloth bears of India, Payton captures the power and beauty of majestic creatures while exploring their unique place within very different cultures. His quest ultimately leads to the Colorado Plateau, where an ancient reverence for black bears collides with the will of trophy hunters in pursuit of game they do not eat.
"Brian Payton is the real 'Grizzly Man.' With energy, freshness, and no small amount of humor, he takes us deep into 'bear country'—a place that exists not just in the forests of India and Peru, but, as Payton shows us, within each of us. Never has the primal bond between man and bear been so richly explored."—Michael D'Orso, author of Eagle Blue and Plundering Paradise
 
"Brian Payton's global journey into bear country is one-of-a-kind. In this fearless—and fearlessly honest—exploration of the habitats and histories we share with the eight surviving species of bear, Payton takes us to places most of us would never think or dare to go. He is an eloquent witness to a series of beautiful and terrible collisions taking place between humans and bears as we compete for habitat and resources. At its core, Shadow of the Bear is a mirror; in it we are offered not only a wild reflection of our former selves, but a stark assessment of how much it will cost us to lose the deep ancient connection we share with these astonishing creatures."—John Vaillant, author of The Golden Spruce
 
"Payton reminds us in his introduction that bears have been celebrated in art and myth since humans began drawing on the walls of caves and that perhaps more than any other animal the bear remains at the very heart of human concepts of wilderness. Payton went around the world in search of the eight remaining species of bears, traveling to India (sloth bears), China (giant pandas), Peru (spectacled bears), Cambodia (Malayan sun bears), Canada (polar bears), Italy (brown bears), France (cave bears, an extinct species), and the Colorado Plateau in the U.S. (black bears). Payton warns of the rapid rate of bear extinction—species now are disappearing 100 times faster than normal because of human activities. Payton relates interesting details about the villagers he meets and the lives they lead, panda courtship rituals, poaching, habitat destruction, remote landscapes, and much more. He gains an understanding of our relationship to these creatures and why they continue to inspire fear, fascination, and reverence. High adventure combined with dazzling passages of nature writing."—Booklist
 
"Beginning with a dream in which he teaches a bespectacled bear to read, journalist and novelist Payton (Hail Mary Corner) chronicles eight worldwide adventures he took to see a variety of bears in their natural habitat and understand their 'political, economic, and cultural environments,' delivering an extremely satisfying and sometimes provocative read. His accounts of his travels always present engrossing information on a range of topics, such as the politics of Chinese panda preservation, the squalid living conditions of the endangered Cambodian sun bear and the struggle to protect the Italian brown bear from the results of financial mismanagement at national parks. Each chapter is nicely structured and displays investigative skill; Payton's concern for environmental issues never gets in the way of his reporting. His final chapter on the American brown bears of the Colorado Plateau stylishly concludes with a moving meeting with a Navajo medicine man, who helps Payton understand that his dream and his subsequent travels are signs that he has a responsibility to tell his stories in respectful acknowledgment of the 'the spirit of the bear.'"—Publishers Weekly

Review:

"Beginning with a dream in which he teaches a bespectacled bear to read, journalist and novelist Payton (Hail Mary Corner) chronicles eight worldwide adventures he took to see a variety of bears in their natural habitat and understand their 'political, economic, and cultural environments,' delivering an extremely satisfying and sometimes provocative read. His accounts of his travels always present engrossing information on a range of topics, such as the politics of Chinese panda preservation, the squalid living conditions of the endangered Cambodian sun bear and the struggle to protect the Italian brown bear from the results of financial mismanagement at national parks. Each chapter is nicely structured and displays investigative skill; Payton's concern for environmental issues never gets in the way of his reporting. His final chapter on the American brown bears of the Colorado Plateau stylishly concludes with a moving meeting with a Navajo medicine man, who helps Payton understand that his dream and his subsequent travels are signs that he has a responsibility to tell his stories in respectful acknowledgment of the 'the spirit of the bear.' b&w illus. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Book News Annotation:

A writer based in British Columbia, Payton recounts the journeys he made on four continents to view all eight remaining species of bears. In addition to the familiar black, brown/grizzly, and polar bears in North America and Europe, he found the spectacled bear in the South American Andes and the sun bear, giant panda, sloth bear, and Asiatic black bear in Asia. He does not provide an index. Annotation ©2006 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Synopsis:

Around the world in pursuit of the beast we fear, revere, abuse, and adore.

We've been meeting bears in the wilderness, and in our dreams, since the dawn of human history. Celebrated in art and myth since we began drawing on the walls of caves, they cast a long shadow over our collective subconscious. Wherever bears endure, they are an indicator of the health of their ecosystem. Their decline--some to the edge of extinction--foretells a bigger story: that of our planet's peril.

In a series of remarkable journeys, Brian Payton travels the world in search of the eight remaining bear species. Along the way, he confronts poachers in the jungles of Cambodia, witnesses the cruelty of the bear bile trade in China, and delves into the politics of panda sex. From the reclusive spectacled bears of Peru to the man-eating sloth bears of India, Payton captures the power and beauty of these fascinating creatures while exploring their unique place within very different cultures. Vivid characters, exotic landscapes, and deft storytelling make for an unforgettable trek down the braided path of bear and human history.

About the Author

Brian Payton's work has appeared in the New York Times, the Chicago Tribune, the Boston Globe, the Globe and Mail, and Canadian Geographic. He is the author of the novel Hail Mary Corner. He lives with his wife in Vancouver.

Product Details

ISBN:
9781596911987
Subtitle:
hing Wilderness
Publisher:
Bloomsbury USA
Author:
Payton, Brian
Subject:
Mammals
Subject:
Bears
Subject:
Endangered species
Subject:
General
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20060711
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
chapter openers
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
8.25 x 5.50 in

Related Subjects

Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » General

Shadow of the Bear: Travels in Vanishing Wilderness
0 stars - 0 reviews
$ In Stock
Product details 256 pages Bloomsbury Publishing PLC - English 9781596911987 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Beginning with a dream in which he teaches a bespectacled bear to read, journalist and novelist Payton (Hail Mary Corner) chronicles eight worldwide adventures he took to see a variety of bears in their natural habitat and understand their 'political, economic, and cultural environments,' delivering an extremely satisfying and sometimes provocative read. His accounts of his travels always present engrossing information on a range of topics, such as the politics of Chinese panda preservation, the squalid living conditions of the endangered Cambodian sun bear and the struggle to protect the Italian brown bear from the results of financial mismanagement at national parks. Each chapter is nicely structured and displays investigative skill; Payton's concern for environmental issues never gets in the way of his reporting. His final chapter on the American brown bears of the Colorado Plateau stylishly concludes with a moving meeting with a Navajo medicine man, who helps Payton understand that his dream and his subsequent travels are signs that he has a responsibility to tell his stories in respectful acknowledgment of the 'the spirit of the bear.' b&w illus. (July)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by ,
Around the world in pursuit of the beast we fear, revere, abuse, and adore.

We've been meeting bears in the wilderness, and in our dreams, since the dawn of human history. Celebrated in art and myth since we began drawing on the walls of caves, they cast a long shadow over our collective subconscious. Wherever bears endure, they are an indicator of the health of their ecosystem. Their decline--some to the edge of extinction--foretells a bigger story: that of our planet's peril.

In a series of remarkable journeys, Brian Payton travels the world in search of the eight remaining bear species. Along the way, he confronts poachers in the jungles of Cambodia, witnesses the cruelty of the bear bile trade in China, and delves into the politics of panda sex. From the reclusive spectacled bears of Peru to the man-eating sloth bears of India, Payton captures the power and beauty of these fascinating creatures while exploring their unique place within very different cultures. Vivid characters, exotic landscapes, and deft storytelling make for an unforgettable trek down the braided path of bear and human history.

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