Friday, September 12, 2008

The Grizzly Maze

The Grizzly Maze by Nick Jans was originally published in 2005. My 2006 paperback edition has additional material and is 274 pages including an index and bibliography with annotations. The description from the back cover says: "Timothy Treadwell dared to live among Alaskan grizzlies, seeking to overturn the perception of them as dangerously aggressive animals. When he and his girlfriend were mauled and killed in 2003, it created a media sensation. This gripping, thought-provoking, and unsettling account penetrates the darkness of one man's fascination with the wilderness." There is also additional information about bears and why bear attack. A very interesting, highly recommended book. Rating: 5


[I]n a montage woven from Timothy's own self-shot videotape from Katmai interspersed with staged scenes and didactic narrative, Grizzly Man [a movie] presented a disturbing vision of a man teetering on the brink of sanity, then plunging into self-destructive madness as his world unraveled - essentially committing suicide by bear." pg. xii

"I do, however, find it ironic that I, an Alaskan, find myself defending Timothy against the Hollywood version of his story, which seems an impressionistic blend of docu-drama and reality, rather than a documentary in its purest sense." pg. xiv

"This was the place where Timothy Treadwell and Amie Huguenard had died just five days before - attacked, mauled, and eaten outside of their tents during a violent rainstorm....Their desperate struggle for life had been captured on a camcorder's audiotape, starting with cries for help and fading into high pitched screams. A day later, would-be rescuers, hoping to find someone alive, had been menaced by bears at close range and shot and killed two..." pg. 2

"Yet, in the history of the Katmai Park and National Monument, stretching back over eighty-five years, not one person had ever been seriously mauled, let alone killed - until Timothy Treadwell." pg. 3

"Timothy Treadwell was the sort of guy most Alaskans loved to hate. You don't go around on Kodiak Island or Katmai crawling on all fours, singing and reading to bears, giving them names like Thumper, Mr. Chocolate, and Squiggle. You don't say things to them like, 'Czar, I'm so worried! I can't find little Booble.' Not unless you're from California, that is, and your name is Timothy Treadwell." pg. 10

"Though he choose to call the bears he met at Hallo Bay 'grizzlies,' they were and are considered by Alaskan biologists to be brown bears - the coastal version....The distinction between grizzlies and brown bears is, most Alaskans would argue, the difference between pit bulls and Labrador retrievers." pg. 20

"Exactly what he is doing will become a topic of considerable debate. But at this point, the only agenda actually supported by his actions seems to become friends with the bears." pg. 22

Somewhere in those first years....the idea of Grizzly People is born: a grass-roots nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the bears, studying them, and educating people..." pg. 23

"Timothy's rising media star rankles the bear establishment further, goading them toward an all-out charge. It's one thing for this upstart to pull his goofball, New Age, commune-with-the-bears routine in anonymity; but to have it broadcast to tens of millions is another. No matter that Timothy continually promotes bear safety; the footage of him practically nuzzling and petting wild bears sends an opposing, hypocritical, and far more powerful visual....And Timothy's real message isn't about bears, they argue, but himself, a cult of personality." pg. 55

"The sad part is, these deaths were predictable and totally preventable....We can go right down the list of errors he made. It didn't have to happen. He was warned and warned and warned. Yet he negated, defied, and ignored all common sense....The hypocrisy here is what really gripes a lot of us... The general inconsistencies in his life's stated mission makes you wonder, really, if Treadwell was mentally well. Protect bears by putting them at risk. Study them by crowding." pg. 163

"Chuck Bartlebaugh, director of the Center for Wildlife Information in Missoula, says, 'It's my belief that the media is creating an enthusiasm for wildlife without instilling proper respect or responsibility... They see Jeff Corwin faking a grizzly experience and think it's safe if they do the same thing in the wild.' " pg. 206

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