Bear: Myth, Animal, Icon

Bear: Myth, Animal, Icon

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...

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Title:Bear: Myth, Animal, Icon
Author:Wolf D. Storl
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Edition Language:English

Bear: Myth, Animal, Icon Reviews

  • Sarah Furger

    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!

  • Ari

    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,

    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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