Down from the Mountain: The Life and Death of a Grizzly Bear

Down from the Mountain: The Life and Death of a Grizzly Bear

by Bryce Andrews


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"Andrews’ wonderful Down from the Mountain is deeply informed by personal experience and made all the stronger by his compassion and measured thoughts... Welcome and impressive work.” —Barry Lopez

Winner of the Banff Mountain Book Competition's Mountain Environment & Natural History Award

The story of a grizzly bear named Millie: her life, death, and cubs, and what they reveal about the changing character of the American West

The grizzly is one of North America’s few remaining large predators. Their range is diminished, but they’re spreading across the West again. Descending into valleys where once they were king, bears find the landscape they’d known for eons utterly changed by the new most dominant animal: humans. As the grizzlies approach, the people of the region are wary, at best, of their return.
In searing detail, award-winning writer, Montana rancher, and conservationist Bryce Andrews tells us about one such grizzly. Millie is a typical mother: strong, cunning, fiercely protective of her cubs. But raising those cubs—a challenging task in the best of times—becomes ever harder as the mountains change, the climate warms and people crowd the valleys. There are obvious dangers, like poachers, and subtle ones as well, like the corn field that draws her out of the foothills and sets her on a path toward trouble and ruin.
That trouble is where Bryce’s story intersects with Millie’s. It is the heart of Down from the Mountain, a singular drama evoking a much larger one: an entangled, bloody collision between two species in the modern-day West, where the shrinking wilds force man and bear into ever closer proximity.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781328972453
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date: 04/16/2019
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 117,856
Product dimensions: 5.60(w) x 8.40(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

BRYCE ANDREWS is the author of Badluck Way, winner of the Barnes & Nobel Discover Great New Writers Award, the Reading the West Book Award for nonfiction, and a finalist for the Washington State Book Award. He works with the conservation group People and Carnivores and has advocated for our public lands in front of Congress.

Table of Contents

1 The Valley 1

2 Newcomers 15

3 Field and Fence 67

4 High Summer 89

5 The Edge of the Stand 109

6 Seeing 129

7 Reaping 147

8 Fallow 187

9 Visiting 199

10 Hunters 213

11 Millie's Place 229

12 The Exhibit 245

13 Near the Woods 257

Author's Not 271

Acknowledgments 273

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Down from the Mountain: The Life and Death of a Grizzly Bear 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 3 reviews.
Jeannie3doxie More than 1 year ago
As a bear lover, I thoroughly enjoyed this book! It was a little bit slow in the beginning but it just kept getting better and better. Yes, a bear is injured, but so many are saved to be able to co-exist with humans. I loved this book so much, I actually did a search for a couple of cubs and saw photos of them now. I want to purchase this book! The photos look incredible
Chad Guarino More than 1 year ago
Down from the Mountain is Montana rancher Bryce Andrews' empathetic look at the changing lives of the grizzly bears still common in the wilder parts of the state. Focusing predominantly on a sow called Millie and her two cubs, Andrews details how bears attempting to fatten up for winter have become enticed by the readily available corn that is so heavily produced by dairy and cattle farms. Desperate farmers already working on razor thin margins are then more likely to come into conflict with the endangered bears in a dangerous clash between industry and nature. A former cattle rancher himself who got out of the business after witnessing one too many instances of distress when leading his stock to slaughter, Andrews is well positioned to tell this story. Many of the pages in the first half of the book are devoted to Andrews' attempts to build an electrified fence around one of the farmer's cornfields to dissuade the bears from entering. Scattered throughout these descriptions are passages speculating on Millie's early life up to the point where she has cubs of her own. The fence sections are slower, with Andrews still unsure of his place among the bears. He feels drawn to them, in one wild instance describing himself as mysteriously drawn into the cornfield in the hopes of seeing one despite the obvious danger of approaching a sow with cubs. The tragedy that strikes Millie and her cubs midway through the book is where Andrews finds his inspiration and voice for the bears. His attempts at helping to find the guilty party and his tireless search for a home for the cubs are admirable, and here his care and empathy for the bears shine through in the prose. Andrews ruminates towards the end about humanity's place in nature, and comes to the depressing (but prescient) conclusion that we will continue to cause harm. Down from the Mountain is an important and timely book that shines a light on a cause and effect plight that may not be as well known as it should be. After finishing the book, I was interested enough to search for the Maryland Zoo online, where Millie's two cubs (now with names and quite a lot larger) were relocated and are still living. ***I was given a copy of this book by the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.***
Anonymous More than 1 year ago