Bear
Since the beginning of human history, bears have been regarded as animals of great power. Ethnobotanist and cultural anthropologist Wolf Storl, who spent years in the wilderness with bears, explores the fascinating relationship between bears and humans, including the history, mythology, healing lore, and biology of this formidable creature. Storl takes the reader from the bear caves of the Neanderthals to the bear-worshipping Siberian tribes of today, from the extinct cave bear to the modern teddy bear. Bears were traditionally seen as a kind of "forest human" under whose shaggy fur a king or a god was hidden, he explains. Vividly illustrating the power of myths and fairy tales to reveal more than scientific treatises about the true nature of beings--especially in the case of bears--Storl restores this magnificent animal to its rightful place at the forefront of the human imagination as well as among the dwellers of the forest.

Bear Details

TitleBear
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 20th, 2018
PublisherNorth Atlantic Books
ISBN-139781623171636
Rating
GenreNonfiction, History, Animals, Environment, Nature

Bear Review

  • Ari
    January 1, 1970
    this book is about the myths people have told about bears. while a lot of the things storl writes about are interesting, i would put a big old [citation needed] on anything from this book before i used it. (on some things i can tell his perspective is skewed: he talks up thor's connection to bears a lot, even though the only actual link he gives is thor being sometimes called "bjorn," or bear, as a nickname. i've done prior reading on norse mythology and that supposed connection felt off to me, this book is about the myths people have told about bears. while a lot of the things storl writes about are interesting, i would put a big old [citation needed] on anything from this book before i used it. (on some things i can tell his perspective is skewed: he talks up thor's connection to bears a lot, even though the only actual link he gives is thor being sometimes called "bjorn," or bear, as a nickname. i've done prior reading on norse mythology and that supposed connection felt off to me, and googling didn't turn up anything else, or anyone else claiming it as an important connection. it's very likely that on other things, about mythologies i know less of, he's even more wrong.)the author comes off as scornful of modern society and repeatedly wishes for a return to a time when men and bears lived in harmony and respected one another (and Sorry But [citation needed]). he mourns "the technological monstrosities that this unnatural [20th] century has produced," a breath after discussing "jet planes and computers." he uses the afterword (which opens with a poem by the author(!)) to talk about a great experience he had with a "medicine society" whose google results are mostly about how they're a scam.it's academically unrigorous. there's a point where the author mentions a myth with some real backing and uses it to claim that another, unrelated myth, must also be true. he doesn't let the stories he relates speak for themself. he pushes his points at every opportunity.it falls into basically every possible white man anthropologist trap. there's a breathtaking amount of casual racism and sexism. this guy is weird about every single indigenous person he talks about, both peoples he's read about and individual people he's talked to. one chapter opens with what he is unable to cite more specifically than as a "native american proverb" (and which, turning once again to my best friend google, i can find no source for other than this book).like, if you want a basic overview of people who told or tell myths about bears to use as a jumping-off point for further research, then this book is fine, but i wouldn't trust it any further than that.
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  • Sarah Furger
    January 1, 1970
    I really enjoyed this! Storl has worked hard to integrate many different ways of knowing into this history of the bear in human life, and I really appreciated the many different points of view presented here. This book is fast-paced and reads like a series of conversations over a fire or a cup of coffee with a beloved mentor; I felt like I was absorbing knowledge without working hard for it! I have always been partial to bears and knowing more about them and the relationship bears have had with I really enjoyed this! Storl has worked hard to integrate many different ways of knowing into this history of the bear in human life, and I really appreciated the many different points of view presented here. This book is fast-paced and reads like a series of conversations over a fire or a cup of coffee with a beloved mentor; I felt like I was absorbing knowledge without working hard for it! I have always been partial to bears and knowing more about them and the relationship bears have had with humans only increased my affection for them. I highly recommend this BUT: if you are expecting a western/scientific history of bears, this is not the book for you!
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  • Terry Pearson
    January 1, 1970
    Thank you goodreads for the free book . I love winning!I've under the weather so review will have to wait. Just know I was enthralled. So much I didn't know about bears from rituals, bear plants ( think Bear Garlic) mythology, history, fairytales...Winnie the Pooh and Smokey the Bear...oh my, and so much more. A plethora of bear related fact.I need to keep this copy for future reference. Mr. Storl has given us what would be for me a lifetime's work.I rounded down to 3.5 stars.
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  • Samuel Wood
    January 1, 1970
    A startling blend of history, mythology, and botany, this book is a shocking reminder of what has been and the ways man has bonded itself to nature.
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