Wahb: The Biography of a Grizzly
First published more than a century ago, The Biography of a Grizzly recounts the life of a fictitious bear named Wahb who lived and died in the Greater Yellowstone region. This new edition combines Ernest Thompson Seton’s classic tale and original illustrations with historical and scientific context for Wahb’s story, providing a thorough understanding of the setting, cultural connections, biology, and ecology of Seton’s best-known book.
By the time The Biography of a Grizzly was published in 1900, grizzly bears had been hunted out of much of their historical range in North America. The characterization of Wahb, along with Seton’s other anthropomorphic tales of American wildlife, helped to change public perceptions and promote conservation. As editors Jeremy M. Johnston and Charles R. Preston remind us, however, Seton’s approach to writing about animals put him at the center of the “Nature-Faker” controversy of the early twentieth century, when John Burroughs and Theodore Roosevelt, among others, denounced sentimental representations of wildlife.
The editors address conservation scientists’ continuing concerns about inaccurate depictions of nature in popular culture. Despite its anthropomorphism, Seton’s paradoxical book imparts a good deal of insightful and accurate natural history, even as its exaggerations shaped early-twentieth-century public opinion on conservation in often counterproductive ways. By complicating Seton’s enthralling tale with scientific observations of grizzly behavior in the wild, Johnston and Preston evaluate the story’s accuracy and bring the story of Yellowstone grizzlies into the present day.
Preserving the 1900 edition’s original design and illustrations, Wahb brings new understanding to an American classic, updating the book for current and future generations.
What people are saying - Write a review
Other editions - View all
American Anderson animals appeared areas bear attack become began better Biography Blackbear Burroughs carcass CHAPTER close conservation continued Creek dangerous death detailing dumps early encounter Ernest Thompson experience feeding fictional followed foot four Game garbage Greater Yellowstone Greybull grizzly bears Gulch GYE grizzly Hotel human hunters hunting increased journal killed known Lake late later learned Lives located mark Mother moths Mountains natural history naturalists never nose noted once pain Pickett Piney popular population predators Press protection published Ranch range region renegade reported River Roosevelt Seton smell soon species spring story summer Toes track trail trap tree trout turned valley various Wahb Wahb’s West whitebark pine wild wildlife wind wolves woods wounds writing wrote Wyoming Yellowstone National Park York