http://www.midwestbookreview.com/lbw/mar_18.htm (Pets/Wildlife Shelf):
Since the beginning of human history, bears have been regarded as animals of great power. Ethnobotanist and cultural anthropologist Wolf Storl has spent years in the wilderness with bears, and in „Bear: Myth, Animal, Icon“ draws upon his many years of experience and expertise to explore 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. An inherently fascinating and impressively informative study, „Bear: Myth, Animal, Icon“ is an extraordinary and unreservedly recommended addition to both community and academic library Pets/Wildlife collections in general, and Ursine Studies supplemental reading lists in particular. It should be noted for the personal reading lists of students and non-specialist general readers with an interest the subject that „Bear: Myth, Animal, Icon“ is also available in a digital book format (Kindle, $14.99). from
Wolf D. Storl dives deep into the world of bears, uncovering their origins throughout history and how their presence has shaped cultures for centuries. Discover the roles they’ve played as the animal doppelgangers nagual and fylgia. Discover the shamans and berserkers that harness their power of healing and strength. Discover how bear plants are used in apothecary and their continuous appearance in pop culture. Also included are detailed illustrations, a bear dictionary, fairy tales, and folk tales.
Bear is a thorough guide with an almost mystical quality to the writing and an analytical approach that nicely compliments the inclusion of various tales. Storl includes personal encounters and opinions, giving a fresh insight that makes it feel like a whole other world. Every chapter unveils a different aspect of what significance bears played in culture, from their connection to healing and power to their influence on pop culture. The ewoks of Star Wars, Smokey the Bear, and other famous bears can be found at the end in a bear dictionary. This is a fascinating book that will appeal to anyone who loves bears and is the perfect read for those who love history and mythology.
Reviewed By: Elizabeth Konkel
Long ago, dogs and cats renounced their wild ways in exchange for food served in bowls and a warm place around the fire. In submitting to humans, they became the laughingstocks of the animal kingdom. Bears and humans, on the other hand, have developed a fascinating relationship, one that delves into any number of spheres, from spirituality to sexuality, mythology, and medicine. Recent archaeological finds confirm that bears have preoccupied the imaginations of humans and even neanderthals since time immemorial.
Bear: Myth. Animal. Icon. grants this mighty, brilliant, gallant animal the rock star treatment, detailing the ways and whys that humans and bears have interacted—not always pleasantly, of course. A renowned woodsman, Wolf D. Storl relates dozens of folktales and anecdotes from every bear-familiar corner of the world, and the book’s illustrations only add to the intrigue.
Reviewed by Matt Sutherland