a film by Werner Herzog
For 13 summers, self-styled bear protector Timothy Treadwell lived among grizzlies in Alaska. Unarmed and generally alone, he talked to the bears, gave them names, and filmed their fights and frolics. Werner Herzog's documentary of Treadwell's unusual life--and death--is both an inquiry into the nature of man and beast and a portrait of a complex person who produced intimate footage of the animals he loved too much.
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a book by Arlene Blum
"Next year, I'm going to the beach," Arlene Blum tells herself after yet another cold, calamitous experience scaling a lofty peak. Yet she returns again and again, becoming the premier female mountaineer of the 1970s, while blazing other trails as a research chemist. Would a PhD candidate today be told by a faculty advisor, "Forget it. No girls in my group"? --Joan Hamilton
THE GOLDEN SPRUCE
a book by John Vaillant
The life of Grant Hadwin would fascinate even if it hadn't involved a sacred, one-of-a-kind tree. Strong, relentless, and smart, Hadwin spent years as a logger in British Columbia--and knew how to swim a frigid river and cut down the Haida Nation's cherished golden spruce. John Vaillant's "whydunit" blends mystery and natural meditation to mesmerizing effect. --Wells Dunbar
WALKING IT OFF
a book by Doug Peacock
From the Himalayas to Vietnam to the desert Southwest, Doug Peacock's memoir covers a lot of ground, literally as well as figuratively. He recounts his deep, sometimes difficult friendship with Edward Abbey and wrestles with war memories and personal demons. Ultimately, his story is about confronting mortality and coming to terms with our pasts in the wild. --Carl D. Esbjornson
a book by Bruce Stutz
"Each place, each species experiences its own spring," writes Bruce Stutz. Driving north across the United States as it thaws and blooms, the author observes rituals of the season and oddities of nature--like the wood frogs that turn two-thirds of their bodily fluids to ice during winter and thaw in spring--as well as the effects of global warming, which threaten to change a time of renewal into one of uncertainty.