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

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<b>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. </b><br /> <br /> The grizzly is one of North Americas last large predators. Their range is diminished, but theyre spreading into the West again, where once they were king. The challenge: humans rule the roost now, and most are wary, at best, as grizzlies 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 last large predators. Their range is diminished, but they’re spreading into the West again, where once they were king. The challenge: humans rule the roost now, and most are wary, at best, as grizzlies approach.     In searing detail, award‑winning writer, Montana rancher, and conservationist Bryce Andrews tells us about one such grizzly. Millie was a typical mother: strong, cunning, fiercely protective of her cubs. But raising those cubs was hard. The mountains were changing, as the climate warmed and people crowded the valleys. There were obvious dangers, like poachers, and subtle ones, like the corn field that drew her into human territory, and sure trouble.     That trouble is where Bryce’s story intersects with Millie’s. He shares both in Down from the Mountain, showing how this singular drama is a piece of a much larger one in the West: an entangled, bloody collision between people protecting a life they’ve known for generations, and the people fighting to preserve one of America’s wildest landscapes.


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<b>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. </b><br /> <br /> The grizzly is one of North Americas last large predators. Their range is diminished, but theyre spreading into the West again, where once they were king. The challenge: humans rule the roost now, and most are wary, at best, as grizzlies 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 last large predators. Their range is diminished, but they’re spreading into the West again, where once they were king. The challenge: humans rule the roost now, and most are wary, at best, as grizzlies approach.     In searing detail, award‑winning writer, Montana rancher, and conservationist Bryce Andrews tells us about one such grizzly. Millie was a typical mother: strong, cunning, fiercely protective of her cubs. But raising those cubs was hard. The mountains were changing, as the climate warmed and people crowded the valleys. There were obvious dangers, like poachers, and subtle ones, like the corn field that drew her into human territory, and sure trouble.     That trouble is where Bryce’s story intersects with Millie’s. He shares both in Down from the Mountain, showing how this singular drama is a piece of a much larger one in the West: an entangled, bloody collision between people protecting a life they’ve known for generations, and the people fighting to preserve one of America’s wildest landscapes.

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

  1. 5 out of 5

    Diane S ☔

    Mission Hills, Montana, a place that has long harbored and protected grizzlies. Millie's Woods, named after a grizzly who has roamed the woods theere, giving birth to several cubs. As more and more people move into the area, farmers, survivalists, people who just want to be alone, and of course those with no good intention, the grizzlies territory is shrinking. Now they are running into man and what man thinks is his. When the grizzlies discover corn fields, they decide to stay within the protected Mission Hills, Montana, a place that has long harbored and protected grizzlies. Millie's Woods, named after a grizzly who has roamed the woods theere, giving birth to several cubs. As more and more people move into the area, farmers, survivalists, people who just want to be alone, and of course those with no good intention, the grizzlies territory is shrinking. Now they are running into man and what man thinks is his. When the grizzlies discover corn fields, they decide to stay within the protected stalks, eating away, causing huge monetary losses for the farmer. This is a story of Millie, her fate and the fate of her two youngest cubs. A story of those who want to protect these animals, and how they try to do so. When an author is do passionate about his subject it is impossible not to be drawn into the story and into his heart. As mankind goes about killing anything that gets in their way, men and women like those in this book, may well be the last defense. If you're an animal lover, an environmentalist, this story will be heartbreaking. The author says it best in these words, "Knowing how we have misused land and wildlife, I have precious little faith in humankind. I think it likely that we will go on wrecking the beautiful world. But, I put my hope in bears of Baptiste's sort ---hardy, seeking adaptable creatures. They will find away around or through our constructions to places that once belonged to them. Given the merest chance, they will live." One can only hope. ARC from Netgalley.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Erin McCarthy Greene

    <strong>Read this book!</strong><br /><br />I happened upon this book as a new acquisition at my public library. I have an interest in wildlife conservation, especially the management of large predators in close proximity to populated areas. I was intrigued by the concept of a book about the life and death of a grizzly, a sort of wildlife conservation who-dunnit. I picked up the book on a Saturday and finished it on Sunday.....feeling cheated when I had to leave the book to do other things. Bryce Andrews weaves the story of Read this book! I happened upon this book as a new acquisition at my public library. I have an interest in wildlife conservation, especially the management of large predators in close proximity to populated areas. I was intrigued by the concept of a book about the life and death of a grizzly, a sort of wildlife conservation who-dunnit. I picked up the book on a Saturday and finished it on Sunday.....feeling cheated when I had to leave the book to do other things. Bryce Andrews weaves the story of Millie and her coming into conflict with civilization - and the aftermath - with such precision, such craft, that I felt like I was reading a novel. Every "character," human and animal, is real, accessible, understandable. He lived the story and did his research to fill in any gaps. He is a very gifted storyteller. He shows a deep respect for the need to keep what is wild, forever wild.....and for us humans to be aware of and prepared for potentially deadly encounters with predators. The whole story emphasizes the importance of preventing human/grizzly encounters and the responsibility humans have to ensure prevention. I will likely never live where I will encounter a grizzly, but Andrews makes all of his readers (Westerners and us East Coasters) feel deeply about the outcome for Millie and her cubs. If you care about wildlife conservation, read this book....and tell your friends to read it. I chose completely at random to read it, and I am so very glad I did!!

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    This is a heartfelt account of Millie, a grizzly sow with two cubs in tow, who is enticed down the mountain by a farmers corn crop. I loved the feeling the author conveys when he knows he is in bear country as I could relate because I was in Montana and Canada when I read this one. Nothing quite like being miles from your car, passing several signs about bear country, and then hearing a noise in the woods. It makes you hyper aware of your surroundings. <br />The tragedy that happens, and how unnecessary This is a heartfelt account of Millie, a grizzly sow with two cubs in tow, who is enticed down the mountain by a farmers corn crop. I loved the feeling the author conveys when he knows he is in bear country as I could relate because I was in Montana and Canada when I read this one. Nothing quite like being miles from your car, passing several signs about bear country, and then hearing a noise in the woods. It makes you hyper aware of your surroundings. The tragedy that happens, and how unnecessary the outcome was, when nature meets man, was heartbreaking. This is yet another story of the impact that an out of control growth, and gradual push out of all things wild, has steadily caused many unforseen consequences. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who is interested in nature and the destruction we cause with our consumption. Thank you to the publisher for providing me with this arc available through edelweiss.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Shaun Jones

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Eye opening look at the state of grizzlies in Montana &amp; how mans never ending conquering of the land inevitably leads to conflict. Conflict that usually ends poorly for the bears. Its obviously a very complicated issue &amp; the book does a great job explaining it. Written with great prose. The story of MILLY &amp; her cubs isnt a happy one, but there is some redemption in the end. Great read &amp; highly recommend. Eye opening look at the state of grizzlies in Montana & how man’s never ending conquering of the land inevitably leads to conflict. Conflict that usually ends poorly for the bears. It’s obviously a very complicated issue & the book does a great job explaining it. Written with great prose. The story of MILLY & her cubs isn’t a happy one, but there is some redemption in the end. Great read & highly recommend.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Vishal Katariya

    Learnt a lot about bears. Note to whoever is reading this: please don't plant corn next to hills and forests where grizzly bears are known to live. You might think it'll kill you, but it actually kills the bears.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Amy Pickett

    As grizzly bears gravitate to agricultural crops in Montana's Mission Valley especially corn opportunities for dangerous encounters with people increase. The author's quest to find a solution that protects both people and bears parallels the journey of Millie, a grizzly bear named for Millie's Woods, and her two female cubs. Down from the Mountain's subtitle reveals Millie's fate. Her story "embodies the violence that mankind inflicts everywhere on wilderness and wild creatures." It's a tragic As grizzly bears gravitate to agricultural crops in Montana's Mission Valley — especially corn — opportunities for dangerous encounters with people increase. The author's quest to find a solution that protects both people and bears parallels the journey of Millie, a grizzly bear named for Millie's Woods, and her two female cubs. Down from the Mountain's subtitle reveals Millie's fate. Her story "embodies the violence that mankind inflicts everywhere on wilderness and wild creatures." It's a tragic story, to be sure, but one that should be widely read by anyone who cares about nature, wildlife, and the changing American landscape. And I believe that should be all of us. After all, “The climate is changing, and empty places are filling up … and the vessel that holds us cannot grow.”

  7. 5 out of 5

    Amy

    I havent been this affected by a book in a while. In short, I LOVED it and recommend it to anyone, no matter what you think your interest level is in bears, wildlife, etc. I cried at least twice while reading, and Im actually considering sending the author a note telling him how much I loved his story. <br /><br />I wont go into details because you can read those in the book description and other reviews. But, I found the book very well written, compelling, and hard to put down. It will stick with me for a I haven’t been this affected by a book in a while. In short, I LOVED it and recommend it to anyone, no matter what you think your interest level is in bears, wildlife, etc. I cried at least twice while reading, and I’m actually considering sending the author a note telling him how much I loved his story. I won’t go into details because you can read those in the book description and other reviews. But, I found the book very well written, compelling, and hard to put down. It will stick with me for a long time.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Brittany Dolezal

    I thought this book was so important and the author had a great ability to create interesting, heartfelt narrative that related to the reader (not always the case in non-fic) . If you have any interest in the intricacies of climate change and how one little shift can completely change the habits and habitat of a species, you'll like this.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Connie

    Such a beautifully written story. I learned about bears and understood Bryce Andrews attachment to Millie, the bear he couldnt protect. For people who care about our wild spaces and species, this is a lovely, informative and easy-to-read book. Such a beautifully written story. I learned about bears and understood Bryce Andrews’ attachment to Millie, the bear he couldn’t protect. For people who care about our wild spaces and species, this is a lovely, informative and easy-to-read book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kristi

    Great writing!

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    Told with compassion and understanding of both nature and man, this book provides a viable perspective on the tragedies that can occur when the two intersect.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mitch Vaterlaus

    A beautiful book!

  13. 5 out of 5

    Amy Sprenger

    Heard an interview with this author on NPR and was intrigued. A fantastic read, could not put it down. His description of walking in a corn field knowing there were bears nearby was riveting and I held my breath the entire time.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jesse

    Loved everything about this book.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Susan Kendrick

    Great nonfiction examining the interaction between man and large predator in Montana. The author does a good job of presenting the problems and potential solutions without showing bias or passing undue judgment on any of the players involved. His writing style was a little on the poetic side, but not overly floral. Id recommend this book. Great nonfiction examining the interaction between man and large predator in Montana. The author does a good job of presenting the problems and potential solutions without showing bias or passing undue judgment on any of the players involved. His writing style was a little on the poetic side, but not overly floral. I’d recommend this book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    What American Wolf did for the wolves, so Down From The Mountain does for grizzlies. A beautifully written narrative that follows the life and death of one of the majestic grizzlies of Montana and shows us just what extraordinary creatures the bears are. The perfect book for your animal and nature reader!

  17. 4 out of 5

    Carla (Carla's Book Bits)

    Wonderful and absolutely beautiful. I read a copy pre-publication for free from NetGalley in exchange for a review, but despite that, I want to go and buy my own copy full price to read and treasure over and over again.<br /><br />More thoughts to come!

  18. 5 out of 5

    CS

    I genuinely do not understand the positive reviews of this book. It is 98% diatribe about building an electric fence. Coming off the high of reading the phenomenal American Wolf book, I thought I would foray into a grizzly book and Amazon suggested this one. The great bulk of this book is devoted to the testing an electrical fence around a corn field to prevent crop loss by consuming grizzlies. To call this the life and death of a grizzly is entirely misleading. You learn nothing of the sow Millie I genuinely do not understand the positive reviews of this book. It is 98% diatribe about building an electric fence. Coming off the high of reading the phenomenal American Wolf book, I thought I would foray into a grizzly book and Amazon suggested this one. The great bulk of this book is devoted to the testing an electrical fence around a corn field to prevent crop loss by consuming grizzlies. To call this the “life and death” of a grizzly is entirely misleading. You learn nothing of the sow Millie’s actual life and what occurs to her (and given the brevity the book spends on her) could be summed up in two sentences.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Terry Earley

    <a target="_blank" href="https://radiowest.kuer.org/post/2019-summer-reading" rel="nofollow">https://radiowest.kuer.org/post/2019-...</a><br />We listened to this on a road trip, and would have stopped, but it was queued up and there was nothing else available. Tried again several times while driving locally, then just gave up once the bear was dead.<br /><br />It should have been an in-depth article on the life of a grizzly bear and not the personal memoir of the author. I got pretty tired of the details of his life and work.<br /><br />That said, I did learn a lot about these remarkable bears. Too bad it was not adequately https://radiowest.kuer.org/post/2019-... We listened to this on a road trip, and would have stopped, but it was queued up and there was nothing else available. Tried again several times while driving locally, then just gave up once the bear was dead. It should have been an in-depth article on the life of a grizzly bear and not the personal memoir of the author. I got pretty tired of the details of his life and work. That said, I did learn a lot about these remarkable bears. Too bad it was not adequately edited to keep this guy on topic.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Victoria

    Thanks to Edelweiss and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for sharing the advance copy of this book. Im not sure what possessed me to request this, as I dont usually read books about animals or nature. But Im so glad I did. The authors descriptions of the cornfield struck a visceral reaction within me (fear I think) and his empathy for the bears was touching and very moving. A worthwhile read for all. Thanks to Edelweiss and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt for sharing the advance copy of this book. I’m not sure what possessed me to request this, as I don’t usually read books about animals or nature. But I’m so glad I did. The author’s descriptions of the cornfield struck a visceral reaction within me (fear I think) and his empathy for the bears was touching and very moving. A worthwhile read for all.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Janette Mcmahon

    Well written, highly readable book on Western conservation of grizzly bears and the changing environment due to climate and human behavior. Beautiful descriptions of the area, of both the different types of people as well as the landscape. Highly recommend to anyone interested in nature and conservation.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    There are so many of us now. If we each do a little wrong, it will still be enough to consume and destroy what I hold dear. ... In my lower moments, it seems I could... make no headway against our epidemic lack of restraint.<br /><br />This is a heartbreaking account of a bear and her cubs, and what happens to them when humans move too close to their world. This is an account of Grizzly Bears in Montana, but could easily be about wolves in Canada, Condors in California, or sea turtles in Hawaii. Humans are “There are so many of us now. If we each do a little wrong, it will still be enough to consume and destroy what I hold dear. ... In my lower moments, it seems I could... make no headway against our epidemic lack of restraint.” This is a heartbreaking account of a bear and her cubs, and what happens to them when humans move too close to their world. This is an account of Grizzly Bears in Montana, but could easily be about wolves in Canada, Condors in California, or sea turtles in Hawaii. Humans are spreading out, building and farming in these animal territories, and it is the animals that pay the price. Bryce Andrews is a sensitive, careful writer, and his prose both educates and evokes great emotion. How Andrews writes about farming reminds me of Wendell Berry, and his curiosity and love for wildlife puts him in the rank of Sy Montgomery. This is an important book, and everyone should read it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Justin

    Andrews does a magnificent, if thorough, job describing the Montana environment -- especially that of Schlock's field and Millie's Woods -- as well as his fears, hopes, and apprehensions with the conservationist work he was doing in trying to balance the collision of man and wilderness; civilization and the feral.<br /><br />The only reason I go 4 stars rather than a perfect 4 (despite hating rating systems) is that Andrews strays at the end of the book, tacking on a needless 20-30 pages to "neatly" wrap up Andrews does a magnificent, if thorough, job describing the Montana environment -- especially that of Schlock's field and Millie's Woods -- as well as his fears, hopes, and apprehensions with the conservationist work he was doing in trying to balance the collision of man and wilderness; civilization and the feral. The only reason I go 4 stars rather than a perfect 4 (despite hating rating systems) is that Andrews strays at the end of the book, tacking on a needless 20-30 pages to "neatly" wrap up the season's narratives. Sure, we all want -- NEED--closure but that's what a concise epilogue is for rather than 3 extra chapters. That said, please write more Mr. Andrews. Not just about grizzlies (the reason I picked up the book in the first place having an almost unhealthy fascination with bears) but the continued (im)balance of a changing climate, changing habits, and that push/pull of man meeting beast and neither surrendering when compromise is sorely needed.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Eric Hollen

    I came into this book hoping to learn more about my native Missoula area and about grizzly bears, which, thankfully, Ive had the fortune to see from my car and not while in the woods. The book has a big heart, and I mean that sincerely. Theres something touching about the authors story, something if his compassion towards bears that translates to the reader. At times I was unexpectedly moved, and saddened at the conondrum that we as a human race face. Particularly in this instance, with the difficulty I came into this book hoping to learn more about my native Missoula area and about grizzly bears, which, thankfully, I’ve had the fortune to see from my car and not while in the woods. The book has a big heart, and I mean that sincerely. There’s something touching about the authors story, something if his compassion towards bears that translates to the reader. At times I was unexpectedly moved, and saddened at the conondrum that we as a human race face. Particularly in this instance, with the difficulty of sharing the land with the lands original habitants, the bears. My critiques of the book are that I learned a lot more about fencing than I wanted to (though that may be interesting to a target audience) and that my enjoyment of the book felt a little less even; the green author at the beginning is less a read than the more seasoned one towards the end. Nonetheless, I’ll be looking at the land, the people, and the animals differently than I had before.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Scott Lupo

    A beautifully written book that captures the heart of the West and the struggles between humans and animals, specifically the grizzly bear. A touching but poignant story evolves about a mama grizzly named Millie, her two cubs, and the difficulty of living among a growing human population. The author is intimately involved in the story as he experiences the trials of ensuring some semblance of co-existence between bear and rancher. A rancher himself, Bryce Andrews writes about his own struggle with A beautifully written book that captures the heart of the West and the struggles between humans and animals, specifically the grizzly bear. A touching but poignant story evolves about a mama grizzly named Millie, her two cubs, and the difficulty of living among a growing human population. The author is intimately involved in the story as he experiences the trials of ensuring some semblance of co-existence between bear and rancher. A rancher himself, Bryce Andrews writes about his own struggle with ranching in the wild and how hard it is to come to solutions that benefit nature and humans living in it. In my mind, this is a book the exemplifies the front line of conservationism, a terribly important subject today. A wonderful read.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    For a while I felt like this book was about a man and his fence and less about a bear. Overall, it was interesting, but Jiminy Christmas! The author seemed a little reckless throughout much of the book. I'm sorry, but if you're going to work in close proximity to grizzlies, it seems like you need to make better choices. At least he seems to acknowledge his carelessness at times. Hell, in his acknowledgements, he even thanks the bears of Millie's Woods for not eating him. I'm glad he included an For a while I felt like this book was about a man and his fence and less about a bear. Overall, it was interesting, but Jiminy Christmas! The author seemed a little reckless throughout much of the book. I'm sorry, but if you're going to work in close proximity to grizzlies, it seems like you need to make better choices. At least he seems to acknowledge his carelessness at times. Hell, in his acknowledgements, he even thanks the bears of Millie's Woods for not eating him. I'm glad he included an Author's Note at the end; it answered a number of questions that I had about his narrative concerning Millie and other bears.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Edward Silverman

    This was a beautifully written depiction of a tragedy. I am wrestling with how to describe the book to others, as the plot consists of a lot of time depicting fence building, which one wouldnt normally consider interesting but the prose was riveting. The author gets you to empathize with the bear and presents the task as a man vs nature... but more accurately man vs mans nature. Additionally with the depictions and pictures I almost felt transported to this part of Montana. I highly recommend this This was a beautifully written depiction of a tragedy. I am wrestling with how to describe the book to others, as the plot consists of a lot of time depicting fence building, which one wouldn’t normally consider interesting but the prose was riveting. The author gets you to empathize with the bear and presents the task as a man vs nature... but more accurately man vs man’s nature. Additionally with the depictions and pictures I almost felt transported to this part of Montana. I highly recommend this story for nature lovers as well as people who like man vs the elements stories.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Deena

    I gobbled up this book like a grizzly bear in two evenings. Couldn't put it down. Andrews weaves together the story of a particular bear, the story of his work helping reduce human-carnivore conflicts in Montana, and the culture, science and terrain of the region. It's great "new journalism" and quite beautifully written. I especially valued the portrait of complex relationships among native and non-native communities, as well as the ingenuity of the solutions being tried by Andrews and others he I gobbled up this book like a grizzly bear in two evenings. Couldn't put it down. Andrews weaves together the story of a particular bear, the story of his work helping reduce human-carnivore conflicts in Montana, and the culture, science and terrain of the region. It's great "new journalism" and quite beautifully written. I especially valued the portrait of complex relationships among native and non-native communities, as well as the ingenuity of the solutions being tried by Andrews and others he described.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Rachel Hergett

    In Down from the Mountain we learn how Bryce Andrews went from rancher to conservationist who works with non-profit People and Carnivores, which focuses on the intersection of wilderness and development. We learn about a conflict in a corn field in the Mission Valley and Andrews work to keep bears from gorging on the easy meal.<br /><br />More importantly, though, Andrews takes us inside the mind of bear Millie, as she traverses the mountains and leads her cubs to the fields. These sections of imaginative prose In “Down from the Mountain” we learn how Bryce Andrews went from rancher to conservationist who works with non-profit People and Carnivores, which focuses on the intersection of wilderness and development. We learn about a conflict in a corn field in the Mission Valley and Andrews’ work to keep bears from gorging on the easy meal. More importantly, though, Andrews takes us inside the mind of bear Millie, as she traverses the mountains and leads her cubs to the fields. These sections of imaginative prose make the writing and the story come alive.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    This is a great book for anyone interested in the relationship between ranchers / farmers and bears - or even just grizzly bears. I was drawn in not only by the subject, but by the surprisingly beautiful prose! The dialog rang absolutely true to the conversations that I have had on this subject with our Canadian neighbors who negotiate the bear/human relationship on an ongoing basis. I appreciated the author's insight and consideration to both sides of the equation.

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