GRIZZLY YEARS: In Search of the American Wilderness by Doug Peacock

GRIZZLY YEARS: In Search of the American Wilderness

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Peacock is a reputed environmental monkey-wrencher, but the first-person story he tells here is not of capers. A Vietnam vet disturbed by his experiences of war and killing (memories of those horrors punctuate the early episodes here), Peacock took to the Northwest wilderness to backpack and look for grizzly bears--and to recover. Gradually (over almost 20 years) the Vietnam horrors fade, he supplements his bear watching with filming the grizzlies on assignment, and he meets and marries another nature freak. But at the end of the book he's separated from his wife and alone on a Southwest desert on Christmas. If this summary emphasizes the personal, Peacock doesn't: His marriage is only mentioned, and there is no soul- or heart-baring anywhere. Nor, however, is this a scientific report on the grizzly. Though Peacock tosses off many observations about the bears from his reading or his watching, the watching seems to be unencumbered by any system or investigative purpose. Neither is this a hairy adventure story, though there are several close calls with charging bears and some well-told, tense encounters. Except that the dates are vague and time sequences uncertain, it reads more like a journal, with a repetitive string of uneventful wanderings and sightings that seem included just because they happened. Peacock knocks around through several genres then, and his account is a little too guarded or unexamined to be the spiritual quest it's billed as. But he writes well, and his decency earns your good will.

Pub Date: Aug. 3rd, 1990
ISBN: 0805045430
Publisher: Henry Holt