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Grizzly Years: In Search of the American Wilderness

4.19  ·  Rating Details  ·  860 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
For nearly twenty years, alone and unarmed, author Doug Peacock traversed the rugged mountains of Montana and Wyoming tracking the magnificent grizzly. His thrilling narrative takes us into the bear's habitat, where we observe directly this majestic animal's behavior, from hunting strategies, mating patterns, and denning habits to social hierarchy and methods of communicat ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 15th 1996 by Holt Paperbacks (first published 1987)
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Dec 19, 2011 Charles rated it really liked it
It's too bad that when you mention the book about Grizzly Bears, everyone says "you mean the guy who got eaten?" because Doug Peacock is the real Grizzly expert, and he knows better than to get all buddy buddy with Ursis Horribilis. This book is an account of decades worth of time spent deep in the backcountry of the Northern Rockies learning about the Grizz in all seasons, and sharing that hard earned, firsthand knowledge with us, the lucky readers. He's clawed his way up and down the Montana R ...more
Jul 22, 2013 Jimmy rated it it was amazing
Shelves: environment
Doug Peacock, the model for the George Hayduke of Edward Abbey's novels The Monkey Wrench Gang and Hayduke Lives!, served two tours of duty in Vietnam as a Green Beret medic, ministering to the Montagnard and Hre peoples of the highlands. Exploring the wilderness and studying grizzly bears was his way of forgetting some of his experiences in Vietnam.

There are many vignettes in the book that I loved. Here is one of my favorites. While house sitting, a Navajo knocks on the door looking for safety
Richard Reese
Nov 25, 2015 Richard Reese rated it it was amazing
Doug Peacock grew up in rural northern Michigan. As a boy, he spent a lot of time alone outdoors, exploring the woods, swamps, and streams. Later, he fell in love with the West, especially the Rockies. He enjoyed fishing and rock climbing. His plan was to become a geologist, so he could wander around in the great outdoors and get paid for it. But one day he realized that his dream career would likely involve working for oil and mining companies, “whose rape of wild country repelled me.” Sadly, h ...more
This was a thoroughly enjoyable book combining Peacock's decades long study and filming of grizzlies in their natural habitats with his personal journey of healing and self-understanding - - a have to read that brought greater understanding of our (Annette's and my) encounter with a grizzly while hiking in Glacier National Park in Montana. Learn more about the author in an July/August 2002 article, Q&A Grizzlies by T. Chamberlain, from National Geogra ...more
Feb 23, 2016 Matt rated it really liked it
Oh, Ursus arctos horribilis! I've always loved seeing bears, from the first summers I ever spent in Idaho - and seeing small black bears flee across forest service roads, across alpine meadows, into timber - to the grizzlies spotted this past summer. They're such majestic creatures, grizzlies especially so, and they've such radiant power.

This past summer I'd the chance to watch a grizzly sow and her two cubs dig tubers just below a high alpine pass. It was both terrifying and exhilarating, and t
Kerri Stebbins
Oh, this book. I would highly recommend anyone considering stepping foot into any sort of grizzly habitat reads this book. It's that informative, beautiful, important. (Except don't ever hike into the back-country with a heavy-as-shit pack and hardly any food like Peacock repeatedly, intentionally does. That's ridiculous. And dumb. And I'm not kidding when I say this guy should be dead multiple times over from stupidity and poor planning.)

Being raised as much in the Selkirks as in any city, I a
Dec 17, 2015 Rupa rated it it was amazing
Mind blown. This book is unique because the author is insane during most of this memoir. Literally. Doug Peacock was a green beret medic in the Vietnam war and saw enough horror to be unable to acclimatize to normal American life on returning. When the usual drugs, alcohol, random acts of arson does not bring succor, he turns to grizzly bear watching. He self medicates w annual pilgrimages to Yellowstone, RMNP and Glacier NP, off the grid, meticulously studying the land and animals.

Even as his m
Jul 14, 2011 Summer rated it it was amazing
Doug Peacock was a troubled man, healed by the power of nature.
Chris La Tray
Feb 04, 2016 Chris La Tray rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016
Simply a classic of wilderness and pro-conservation literature.
May 02, 2015 Joel rated it it was amazing
This was a good read, not only about the plight of the Grizzly, but outdoors and it's healing/recuperation properties.
En realidad, un 3,5
Tattered Cover Book Store
Author Rick Bass recomended this book as part of the Rocky Mountain Land Library's "A Reading List For the President Elect: A Western Primer for the Next Administration."
Jim Krotzman
Jan 22, 2015 Jim Krotzman rated it liked it
I enjoy outdoors books, but I haven't read many lately. This was a good one, a memoir of a Vietnam vet who watched grizzly bears in the out back of Yellowstone and Glacier National Park. The book includes much good information about staying safe around grizzlies, where they eat in what seasons, where they can be found in what seasons.Interestingly, Doug Peacock is the person Ed Abbey developed his character Haydock in his novel The Monkey Wrench Gang. Peacock's knowledge and theory of wilderness ...more
Dec 29, 2014 Peter rated it really liked it
I love the humanity and approachability Peacock's writing. He brings you immediately to the moment and his headspace, and considering his state of mind for most of this book, it's a scary and threatening place to be, echoed by the unpredictability of bears. That said, this is a very worthy addition to scholarship on the value and necessity of wilderness to the human spirit, and questioning our relationship with the natural world. Looking forward to reading more of his work, for it's rigor and it ...more
Doug Peacock mon héros. Doug Peacock, ours, colosse. Doug Peacock qui se retrouva en 1980 à prendre Arnie "The Barbarian" Schwarzenegger par la paluche pour un week-end camping viril à Yellowstone et accessoirement montrer de plus près (tout est relatif) un grizzli pour une émission des années 70-80, qui, en passant, était une émission "sportive" chasse et pêche avec des guest stars populaires comme victimes. Ne me demandez pas comment je suis tombée sur cette vidéo...
Doug Peacock? Mais comment
Andy Miller
May 27, 2013 Andy Miller rated it really liked it
This is a memoir of sorts, of the author's adventures in observing and photographing Grizzly Bears in Montana with flashbacks to his combat experiences in Vietnam. The broken narrative works well, Peacock describes his need for isolation and restoration after his Vietnam experiences--he was a Green Beret who spent most of his tour with small companies in isolated jungles of Vietnam. The Vietnam passages are intense and I found myself appreciating the narrative's return to his Grizzly adventures

Hope N
Jan 19, 2016 Hope N rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, essay
The fascinating journey of one man from the horrors of the Vietnam War to regaining a sense of meaning studying grizzly bears in the American Wilderness. A story that takes the reader from the desert Rocky's to the eternal snows of Glacier National Park, tiptoeing downwind of one of the few truly wild animals left in North America. Sometimes repetitive and slow (like tracking a grizzly); sometimes awe-inspiring.
Bern J
Apr 29, 2016 Bern J rated it it was amazing
Doug Peacock knows grizzlies and wilderness and writes knowingly and protect fully of both . Down here in Arizona Peacock is better known as a good friend of Ed Abbey and the inspiration for the fictional eco-terrorist protagonist, George Hayduke, in Abbey's best seller 'The Monkey Wrench Gang".
Doug Peacock is so much more.
Mark Bailey
Apr 11, 2014 Mark Bailey rated it really liked it
Shelves: melony-office
Convincing tour of recovery from Vietnam through the balms of the U.S.'s wildest places and beasts. Just enough personal to fully engage. Hints of his expertise as a naturalist and paleontologist. My book was a lousy copy printed POD. Is there another full life memoir in the man?
Oct 06, 2014 Hannah rated it it was ok
Honestly I had a super hard time getting into this book but I'm not really into nonfiction grizzly books. Thought the aspect of the author connecting his time in Vietnam to his time watching grizzlies was fantastic. But that book could have been shortened. Good book if you like nonfiction but it wasn't really for me.
Mar 24, 2009 Griggette rated it really liked it
"Grizzly Years" is Doug Peacock's memoir of returning home from his stint as a Green Beret medic in Vietnam and seeking out "the blank spots on the map" in the American West, primarily in Glacier National Park. Peacock spends the next 20 years in the backcountry, following grizzly bears in Yellowstone and Glacier, initially out of his own curiousity, and eventually, with cameras as a wildlife cinematographer/photographer. War stories from his time in 'Nam are interwoven with his ursine experienc ...more
Austin Brooks
I didn't love this book, but I didn't hate it.
The parts if the book where Peacock suggests that he is reconnecting with the world were by far the best points, whether it was talking about friends or his wife. Those parts really resonated and created an engaging memoir of a disillusioned and disheartened veteran. Otherwise the long detailed descriptions of bears and their environments got more and more monotonous. There were certainly moments where I felt thrilled or almost laughed out loud, but
Ilsa Bick
Jul 31, 2011 Ilsa Bick rated it it was amazing
Anyone interested in conservation knows Peacock’s story. Fresh from the Vietnam War where he served two tours as a Green Beret medic, Doug Peacock is a young man with more than his share of spiritual wounds. Like so many others, his life became a boozy, self-destructive downward spiral. What saved him was the wilderness and, more specifically, grizzlies. This book follows his spiritual rebirth–the bears he studied and filmed, the ones he didn’t kill, the trauma he finally vanquished, the life pa ...more
Aug 22, 2014 Hannahcath rated it it was amazing
i love this book.... so intense, so much feeling, interesting perspective.
Apr 20, 2009 Jackson rated it it was amazing
incredible book by ed abbey's protege, doug peacock. discusses environmental topics close to my heart, and also is an autobiographical account of a man who has led an incredible life of extreme lows and highs. free of obnoxious neo-hippy earth first crap, and an enjoyable read for anyone who's never even stepped foot in the desert or a forest. the back and forth narratives between his life in the wilderness and his time as a medic in vietnam provides an incredible contrast of human experience an ...more
Jan 13, 2016 Allegra rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Diane Hanover
May 27, 2015 Diane Hanover rated it it was amazing
One of the best nature books I've read in years.
Grizzly Years: In Search of the American Wilderness by Doug Peacock (Holt Paperback 1996)(599.74446). Doug Peacock is one of America's foremost nature writers. He tracked grizzly bears for over twenty years and is able to provide an astonishing level of understanding and expertise into bear behavior and life cycle. Peacock is a likable curmudgeon. I highly recommend this book to those with an interest in the great bear. My rating: 7.5/10, finished 2005.
Aug 02, 2007 Chefwood rated it it was amazing
Okay. I know. A book about bears? What the heh? But it's a really fascinating read. Not for the information about bears, but because of the authors social beliefs and how he presents his information. He was a medic in Vietnam, two tours I think, and is now horrified by humanity. To him, bears are simple. Bears make sense. Its an interesting read to say the least. By the by, he has come to accept humanity a little more and does not spend all of his time with bears anymore.
Carolyn Pina
Sep 13, 2015 Carolyn Pina rated it liked it
I found this book strangely interesting, though I more or less struggled through it.
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Author, Vietnam veteran, filmmaker and naturalist Doug Peacock has published widely on wilderness issues: from grizzly bears to buffalo, from the Sierra Madres of the Sonoran desert to the fjords of British Columbia, from the tigers of Siberia to the blue sheep of Nepal. Doug Peacock was a Green Beret medic and the real-life model for Edward Abbey’s George Washington Hayduke in The Monkey Wrench G ...more
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“The whole concept of 'wild' was decidedly European, one not shared by the original inhabitants of this continent. What we called 'wilderness' was to the Indian a homeland, 'abiding loveliness' in Salish or Piegan. The land was not something to be feared or conquered, and 'wildlife' were neither wild nor alien; they were relatives.” 7 likes
“I have spent too much time with my eye glued to the viewfinder and ended up missing both the image of the mind and that on film.” 3 likes
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