Koch ambles, like his subject, among high points in the polar bear's seasonal cycle, scientific and apocryphal observations and anecdotes, and new ventures in ursine research. He reviews, via his model polar bear family, behavioral and physiological norms: denning, whelping and care of cubs, forage and hunting prowess, growth patterns, etc., and the bear's confrontations with man, the animal inevitably the loser. Along with explorer, Eskimo and hunter tales, there are brief overviews of new field study techniques--the use of satellites and transistor-ed bears, den tagging, and that dispiriting vision of a huge adult male roaming the Arctic with the number 19 painted on his handsome coat. Also included are glimpses--and it's only that--of the work of the International Conference on Bear Research and Management. Koch condemns--and rightly so--some zoo practices, indiscriminate hunting and the use of DDT (which shows up in polar bear fat). But unfortunately there's too little about too much for anyone except the casual animal lover, to whom this surely will appeal.