Synopses & Reviews
"Andrews' wonderful Downfrom the Mountain is deeply informed by personal experience and made all the stronger by his compassion and measured thoughts...Welcome and impressive work.” — Barry Lopez
The story of a grizzly bear named Millie: her life, death, and cubs, and what they reveal about the changing character of the American West
The grizzly is one of North America’s few remaining large predators. Their range is diminished, but they’re spreading across the West again. Descending into valleys where once they were king, bears find the landscape they’d known for eons utterly changed by the new most dominant animal: humans. As the grizzlies approach, the people of the region are wary, at best, of their return.
In searing detail, award-winning writer, Montana rancher, and conservationist Bryce Andrews tells us about one such grizzly. Millie is a typical mother: strong, cunning, fiercely protective of her cubs. But raising those cubs — a challenging task in the best of times — becomes ever harder as the mountains change, the climate warms and people crowd the valleys. There are obvious dangers, like poachers, and subtle ones as well, like the corn field that draws her out of the foothills and sets her on a path toward trouble and ruin.
That trouble is where Bryce’s story intersects with Millie’s. It is the heart of Down from the Mountain, a singular drama evoking a much larger one: an entangled, bloody collision between two species in the modern-day West, where the shrinking wilds force man and bear into ever closer proximity.
“In stunning prose, as powerful as the grizzly itself, Andrews’s draws the reader into the mysterious lives of these bears. From deep in their pungent winter dens we emerge with them into the spring light, pad along forest trails, smell every molecule of wild and human. We are also the farmer, sweat-soaked, protecting the sweet corn. When these two worlds — bear and human — collide, all is unpredictable and precarious. Down from the Mountain will sear its beauty and sorrow into your soul. Required reading for all Homo sapiens.” Elisabeth Tova Bailey, author of The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating
“In some of the clearest prose the state of Montana has produced, this high-octane story captures the marvel that is a grizzly giving birth in the high wild, follows her down into the human interface, and floods us with the heightened awareness and humbling unease we feel in the presence of Ursus arctos. When the hubris of man-unkind then threatens his protagonists, Andrews lays his life on the line in a sustained attempt to protect them, and the suspense of the telling comes to rival a great crime thriller. Rife with lyrical precision, first-hand know-how, ursine charisma, and a narrative jujitsu flip that places all empathy with his bears, Down from the Mountain is a one-of-a-kind triumph even here in the home of Doug Peacock and Douglas Chadwick.” David James Duncan, author of The River Why and The Brothers K
"Would that we had more nature writing like Bryce Andrews’s fantastic second book, Down from the Mountain. Part biography of the Mission Valley in Montana, informed by the Blackfeet and Salish histories rooted there, it tells a moving modern tale of how ranchers and big predators overlap uneasily on that land today...Down from the Mountain eschews easy moral scrimmaging...A subtle and beautifully unexpected book...Readers hungry for yet another torch bearer to the ways of thinking of the wild that Barry Lopez and Leslie Marmon Silko made possible should look no further." Literary Hub
“Bryce Andrews' wonderful Down from the Mountain is deeply informed by personal experience and made all the stronger by his compassion and measured thoughts. He outlines clearly the core of a major problem in the rural American West — the disagreement between large predatory animals and invasive modern settlers — without disrespect and without sentimentality. His book is welcome and impressive work.” Barry Lopez
About the Author
Bryce Andrew's debut, Badluck Way, was the 2014 winner of the Barnes & Nobel Discover Great New Writers Award, the 2014 Reading the West Book Award for nonfiction, the 2014 High Plains Book Award for both nonfiction and debut book, and a finalist for the 2014 Washington State Book Award. Born in 1983 and raised in Seattle, Washington, Bryce Andrews migrated east toward the American West. Having spent a decade in the high valleys of Montana, he remains fascinated by the complex and reciprocal relationship between humans, wild animals and place.