The ultimate adventure that the West could provide"": thus, says compiler Beyers, did her grandfather F. M. Young view the...


MAN MEETS GRIZZLY: Encounters in the Wild from Lewis & Clark to Modern Times

The ultimate adventure that the West could provide"": thus, says compiler Beyers, did her grandfather F. M. Young view the man-bear encounter, which turned ""not as much on the grizzly's sperior brawn or man's superior brain as on resourcefulness, courage, and luck--qualities that could be possessed by either adversary."" Born in the Utah Territory in 1870, Young (a nephew of Brigham Young) began collecting bear stories after his retirement from teaching in 1931. As assembled here, the 48 include several selections from histories, logs, and diaries; some secondhand versions for popular magazines of the time; and many first-hand oral accounts taken down by Young himself. ""It is astonishing to see the wounds they will bear before they can be put to death,"" wrote Meriwether Lewis, often cited as the first to record such an encounter. The last, Frank Clark, who felled the legendary Old Ephraim in 1923, tells of six shots (two piercing the heart) from which the bear rose to continue his advance--and a seventh, in the brain, which finally stopped him. A wildlife photographer with his share of encounters put it this way: ""What the worst of it, a grizzly is so tough he'll get up and come at you after he's nominally dead!"" Just as awesome is the human feat (which well deserves the three versions we get here) of Hugh Glass, who reputedly survived a battle with a grizzly, but was left for dead by a companion; then regained his strength on the raw meat of his defeated adversary, and crawled 70 miles to the nearest fort. Other men have watched a grizzly chomp at a companion's skull, and watched later as the wounded man's brains leaked out in a delirious death; and one pair of prospectors, who were sniffed out with their cargo of ham, fought a rousing all-night battle--tearing up furniture and floorboards in the process--with three bears determined to get in through the window, the door, or the roof of their cabin. Rousing tales all, related with vigor and awe, they bring readers face to face with indomitable bears and men and the frontier culture that made legends of both.

Pub Date: July 28, 1980


Page Count: -

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin

Review Posted Online: N/A

Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 1, 1980