Saturday, October 8, 2016

Ice Bear: The Cultural History of an Arctic Icon by Michael Engelhard

The first fact that caught my eye was that polar bears are in cold zones around the world.  I thought they were only around the North Pole.  They were first found in Japan, are in China and many more countries.  Look at the top of the globe, go around the cold points and they've traveled there at some point in time.  When the world was connected by glaciers and ice, they could get around and were always looking for new food sources.  That they were so many places astonished me!

University of Washington Press and Edelweiss gave me the opportunity to read this book for review (thank you).  It will be published October 30th.

This book has facts, fiction, myths, and folklore all related to the ice bear.  The Intuits have their own folktales about them.  They even believe you need to be respectful to the ones you kill.  If you're not, the bears will take retribution on you.  

They killed the bears with hunting expeditions a bit like they did the buffalo in the states.  They wasted the meat often, only wanting the hides.  They put the cubs in zoos or circuses.  Man has never been kind to animals.

The facts are many and what makes it palatable are the photos.  You see artwork, bear photos, and much more.  That helps make the facts more interesting.

Polar bears have always fascinated me.  They're huge, they will hunt you if they are hungry, and they are deadly.  I saw one video where they were out in a bear proof vehicle and the bear came right up to the window and snarled with its mouth open.  You could put your whole head in that mouth.  I'll just watch the videos and look at the pictures.  No up close visits for me!

This book is like visiting them in person and reading their history over the years is like listening to your grandparents.  I don't read much non-fiction but this one sucked me in.  It was done well and I learned a lot from the read.  If you have any interest in animals, you should read this book.

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