OF BEARS AND MAN by Mike Cramond


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Picking up where the trail of Killer Bears (1981) left off, Canadian outdoors writer Cramond reports on further bear attacks and retaliatory killings (sparing us none of the grisly details)--his aim being to help prevent tragedies by educating an unknowing public to the dangers posed by bears. Cramond has trekked thousands of miles across North America to get firsthand accounts from attack victims, researchers and others who've had close encounters with polar, black, and grizzly bears, and to visit the various sights of maulings and killings. His accounts--often repetitive, long-winded, and overly dramatic--include gory descriptions of bears tearing the flesh and cracking the bones of their victims, and of the human remains found in dead bears' intestinal tracts. What's curious here is not Cramond's fascination with bears--he's at once respectful and just plain scared of them--but the fact that he's perplexed by the cause of the bear attacks. Yet throughout the book (in alternating chapters) is a second series of stories--fictionalized accounts of bear family life--and in these stories it's made abundantly clear that bears are extremely territorial and protective of their young, and guided by predatory instincts. Given these facts, and the fact that relatively few attacks (and even fewer killings) actually take place (most people are able to avoid confrontations), Cramond's mission seems more like personal obsession than anything approaching scientific research.

Pub Date: May 1st, 1986
Publisher: Univ. of Oklahoma Press