Four decades ago, the areas around Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks sheltered the last few hundred surviving grizzlies in the Lower 48 states. Protected by the Endangered Species Act, their population has surged to more than 1,500, and this burgeoning number of grizzlies now collides with the increasingly populated landscape of the twenty-first-century American West. While humans and bears have long shared space, today's grizzlies navigate a shrinking amount of wilderness: cars whiz like bullets through their habitats, tourists check Facebook to pinpoint locations for a quick selfie with a grizzly, and hunters seek trophy prey. People, too, must learn to live and work within a potential predator's territory they have chosen to call home.
Mixing fast-paced storytelling with rich details about the hidden lives of grizzly bears, Montana journalist Robert Chaney chronicles the resurgence of this charismatic species against the backdrop of the country's long history with the bear. Chaney captures the clash between groups with radically different visions: ranchers frustrated at losing livestock, environmental advocates, hunters, and conservation and historic preservation officers of tribal nations. Underneath, he probes the balance between our demands on nature and our tolerance for risk.
Robert Chaney is a reporter for the Missoulian. A lifelong Montanan, he covers science and the environment.
"Fans of bears – and of hearty nature writing – will take pleasure in Chaney’s paean."
– Kirkus Reviews
"Robert Chaney tells the story of grizzly bear as an icon and a predator. The book reads like a who's who of scientists, authors, photographers, and Department of Interior battles that have focused on the grizzly for the past four decades."
– The Missoulian
"A well-written and thought-provoking analysis of this pressing issue."
– The Literary West
"Illustrated with stories and fortified with facts, Chaney reveals layers of complexity providing a multitude of perspectives in his thorough account."
– Outside Bozeman
"Chaney writes with pith and pizazz, and goes deep into understanding nature's difficult relationship with people. This book is an incisive and motivating look into the future. It asks whether these brown bruins can be tolerated at levels reflecting their biological needs, meeting shifting ecological landscapes and our diverse American cultural pathways."
– Joel Berger, author of Extreme Conservation: Life at the Edges of the World
"Humorous, engaging, and filled with important insights about sustaining grizzly populations in the face of a multitude of pressures."
– Frank Van Nuys, author of Varmints and Victims: Predator Control in the American West
"What kind of future is there for supremely wild bears amid Western landscapes increasingly filling with people? I heartily recommend joining Robert Chaney on his comprehensive and refreshingly fair-minded quest for answers. Combining his insights as a reporter with the voices of Native Americans, hikers, trophy hunters, government officials, ranching families, and wildlife biologists, Chaney offers a wide-angle look at the continuing controversies surrounding efforts to recover this species."
– Doug Chadwick, author of Tracking Gobi Grizzlies: Surviving Beyond the Back of Beyond