Saturday, October 16, 2010

Itty-Bitty Book Review: Shadow of the Bear by Brian Payton

I recently suffered by reading what may be the most cowardly travel book written by a contemporary American woman. With the nauseating aftertaste of that insipid story in my mouth, I've decided to take time to blog about more satisfying travel books, focused on the outdoors.

Published in 2006, Shadow of the Bear: Travels in Vanishing Wilderness by Brian Payton is a thoughtful travelogue. As he travels to Asia, South America, Europe and arctic Canada, Payton introduces bear ecology and rare endangered bear populations to everyday readers. While some chapter narratives tend to wander, ending up more like travel journal entries, overall the book will keep wildlife watchers with wanderlust hooked from start to finish.

Want to know why polar bears end up in "jail" in Churchill, Manitoba? How moon bears are rescued from cruel bile farms in China? What's being done to save the spectacled bear in Peru? This author found out first-hand. It's an inspiring read, both as a traveler (have you faced down any human-killing sloth bears in India lately?) and as an animal lover (I was so moved by the book that I donated to Animals Asia, a small nonprofit group that works to rescue and rehabilitate moon and sun bears in China and Vietnam).

What are your favorite travel books about nature, wildlife and adventures outdoors? Tell me what to read next by leaving a comment below. If you'd like a free copy of this book, leave your email address.

Image courtesy of Bloomsbury USA.

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