Bears: A Brief History

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Yale University Press, 2007 - Nature - 259 pages
5 Reviews

This engaging book examines the shared history of people and bears. Hopscotching through history, literature, and science, Bernd Brunner presents a rich compendium of the interactions between the two species and explores how bears have become central figures in our inventory of myths and dreams. He reveals the remarkable extent to which human feelings about bears have been—and still are—mixed. People have venerated, killed, caressed, tortured, nurtured, eaten, worshipped, and despised bears. Interestingly, the varied dealings of humans with bears raise the same question over and again: do our images of bears have much in common with the animal as it really is?

The book uncovers new and little-known stories and facts about bears in European, North American, Japanese, Russian, and South and Southeast Asian cultures. Taken together, these perspectives show us new things about the animals we thought we knew so well. Quirky and bizarre anecdotes, scientific information on bears threatened with extinction in some areas, a discussion of the phenomenon of “bearanoia,” and more than one hundred historical illustrations contribute to this unique account of the shared history between bears and humans and the continuing presence of bears in our personal and collective dreams.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - lisapeet - LibraryThing

It was brief, and it was about bears; what more could I want? It was also informative and very charming in a compact, guidebook kind of way, and told me what I wanted to know. Also: great cover. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - bas615 - LibraryThing

A wonderfully quirky and illustrated examination of the relationship of bears and humans. As an ardent admirerer of our more furry friends I could not pass up this book once I saw it. I was struck by ... Read full review

Contents

Tracking the Paths of Bears
9
Transformations
19
The Mystery of the Cave Bear
37
False Steps
49
Exotic Discoveries
63
The Bears Personality
77
Sounds Senses Signals
91
Bears as Pets
103
Closer Than Close
171
Bears on Show
183
Bears Substitutes
211
Bearanoia
221
Epilogue
233
Acknowledgments
237
Bibliographic Essay
239
Selected Bibliography
245

An Observer in Eastern Siberia
117
Face to Face
125
Hunters and Hunted
141
The Inuit and Polar Bears
161
Index
253
Credits
260
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Bernd Brunner, a graduate of the Free University of Berlin and Berlin School of Economics, is an independent scholar, freelance writer, and editor of nonfiction books. He is the author of The Ocean at Home: An Illustrated History of the Aquarium. Lori Lantz received a Ph.D. in comparative literature from UCLA and attended the Free University of Berlin as a Fulbright Scholar.

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