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The Grizzly Maze: Timothy Treadwell's Fatal Obsession with Alaskan Bears

3.72  ·  Rating Details ·  569 Ratings  ·  89 Reviews
In the tradition of Jon Krakauer’s Into the Wild and Peter Jenkins’s Looking for Alaska, a riveting adventure story of one man’s passion to understand and protect the grizzly bear—and his last foolhardy, violent encounter with one

Ursus arctos horribilis, commonly known as the grizzly or brown bear, is one of the most feared animals on the planet. As its most outspoken p

Hardcover, 288 pages
Published July 7th 2005 by Dutton (first published 2005)
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Nov 13, 2007 Phayvanh rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: reviews, reportage
I read this after seeing the Grizzly Man movie, which I enjoyed for its low-key bizzareness, and I enjoyed this book so much more than the movie.

Nick Jans does his best to illuminate the Timothy Treadwell story by providing as much context as possible, including interviews with those who knew and loved him, as well as those who knew and despised him. Jans is also an Alaskan nature writer by trade, and it shows in his details and intimacy with the landscape, and especially about the bears he wr
David Ward
Feb 03, 2010 David Ward rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: animals, non-fiction
The Grizzly Maze: Timothy Treadwell’s Fatal Obsession With Alaskan Bears by Nick Jans (Plume Books 2005)(599.764) demonstrates quite clearly that Tim Treadwell was crazy. It is also the best of the books about Treadwell. Here’s a great and very long excerpt from the book: “ Marc Davis is angry.  Furious might be more accurate.  I'd been working down a list of phone interviews a few days after Tim Treadwell's death - Park Service officials, Alaska State Troopers, and bear biologists, and getting ...more
Dec 29, 2013 Lex rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very insightful book often Timothy Treadwell story. I was impressed by the detail, especially about the scene of investigation. There is much greater detail into the actual attack than the film "Grizzly Man" offers.

My favorite part is where the author's friend Joel Bennett comes in. This man presents a side of Timothy that the media decides to ignore. "When all is said and done, Timothy Treadwell will be remembered by those who knew him as caring for the future of bears. At least he
Dec 20, 2012 Kathy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Meh. Pretty much a case of too much information. I kept thinking the book should be over about now; the story's been told; what more could there be...then I'd check the progress bar and I'd only be, say, 64% done. A book has to be really, really bad for me to put down without finishing, so I stayed the course and kept with it anyway. I'm a very fast reader; typically I'll tear right through a book. This one took me forever to finish, though, because my kids kept stealing my iPad to play Minecraf ...more
Timothy Treadwell (born Timothy Dexter) is the subject of this book and he is a very complicated individual. A self-styled "bear expert" he learns about grizzlies through trial and error, not by formal education, and eventually becomes a television bear celebrity. From the very beginning the reader is told that Timothy Treadwell meets his end by being attacked and eaten. Many bear scholars are amazed that he survived for so many years. The author does a thorough job presenting the pros and cons ...more
May 11, 2017 Randi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is definitely my favorite book about Alaska so far. It was exceptionally written with such great detail that will immerse you into the beautiful and sometimes horrific situations in the Alaskan wilderness.

I didn't know much about Timothy Treadwell before reading it and I enjoyed how deeply the author explored all the different angles of his story and what might’ve happened. He wrote with respect and I especially liked how he handled the death scene which was terrifying to say the least.

Nov 20, 2011 dragonhelmuk rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A very bad use of my £8! This book is actually really bad, without many redeeming features. It's based on a series of interviews and a collection of opinions gathered right after Treadwell's death, but it doesn't really give any information you cant find out in seconds on the internet. It reads very much like someone trying to make a quick buck after the death of a celebrity. Overall this is FAR FAR from any sort of biography, it cruises straight over his life and death with no detail whatsoever ...more
Deborah Edwards
Aug 12, 2008 Deborah Edwards rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For reasons I have yet to pinpoint, I am fascinated with Treadwell. His life, his personality, the apparent dichotomy within him, the personal Treadwell, the private Treadwell and the way he reinvented himself. Oh yeah, and and all of those BEARS. With zero experience, zero training, and zero education in the field, he decided it was his destiny to spend months every year living in a tent amidst grizzly bears, studying them, protecting them, and taking some of the most incredible footage ever sh ...more
Aug 25, 2008 Nicole rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the curious
An interesting look at the man behind Grizzly Diaries. Treadwell and Huguenard's deaths must have been horrific and agonizing, and are certainly haunting to anyone who takes the time to really think about them. I would not wish such a horrible experience on anyone. That said, Treadwell should have seen it come because so many others did. He claimed to want to protect bears, yet he put them in danger by making them accustomed to his human presence. He wanted to "save" these bears, but his selfish ...more
Apr 17, 2010 Shauna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Good read, interesting, very educational when it comes to bears and their habits. I find I'm much more sympathetic to Timothy Treadwell and the fact that he went 13 years without an incident before his death. Parts of it dragged, though - the whole "how do we identify with bears and what do they mean to us" chapter was a real snore. The rest was interesting and while I can't say I loved it, I'd recommend it to anyone who saw the documentary and wanted to get a very even handed look at what Tread ...more
I enjoyed parts of this book for the fascinating information about the lives and nature of brown bears. Some of the information was highly informative and increased my appreciation for their intricate ursine society. However, in spite of the author's attempts to convince his readers otherwise, I found Timothy Treadwell to be a selfish, theatrical, dishonest individual who was willing to lie for personal gain and sacrifice the safety of other people in order to satisfy his own agenda. Due to the ...more
Jun 30, 2014 Bill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

My review is here:

Epistemology is defined as "the study of the nature of knowledge especially with reference to its limits and validity." ( I stole that definition off the web). Translation: Epistemology is the study of the process and context regarding "how we come/came to know what we claim/claimed to know." Epistemological inquiries are multi-dimensional. These dimensions include - but are not limited to - time, people, places, myths, bel
Jeff Jellets
Oct 28, 2016 Jeff Jellets rated it it was amazing

"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."

Killed and eaten by bears … it must be on everyone’s list of “worst ways to die.”

Sadly, on October 5, 2003, Timothy Treadwell and his female companion Amie Huguenard came to just such an end while camping in Alaska’s Katmai National Park. More disturbingly, audio of the attack was captured on the couple’s video camera – a t
Mark Warren
Mixed messages

Reading and writing about Treadwell brings out the worst in people, there always seems to be some argument going on -- even if it's only in the writer or reader's head. Since Treadwell was killed and (mostly) eaten by a bear, and the choices he made in getting too close to the animals played no small part in his demise, there seems little enough to argue about. It's best for people and bears to maintain safe (respectful?) distance from each other, the burden falling mostly on the h
Feb 11, 2008 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I became interested in this story after seeing "Grizzly Man," a documentary, on The Discovery Channel. This was an decent book chronicling the life and death of Timothy Treadwell in a horrific grizzly bear attack that ultimately resulted in the deaths of two people and two bears. The author journalistically explores the incident and the events that led to it, through on-location research and extensive interviews. Timothy was a man who lived on the edge, and after 13 years of exposing himself to ...more
May 08, 2010 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book proved to be a very pleasant surprise. Nick Jans engages with the much-publicized story of Timothy Treadwell in a personal, honest, and complex way, seeking to neither glorify nor ridicule him. Treadwell comes across as complex, contradictory, and controversial, as it seems he was. He was passionate about bears but also foolhardy and endangered the very creatures he loved so much. Jans provides some interesting details about Treadwell's several attempts to re-invent himself, until the ...more
Kelly Mogilefsky
Aug 30, 2009 Kelly Mogilefsky rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm going to have to put this one down half way, review it, and consider it read. This is really, really interesting stuff, and well written, too, but the description of the tragic death of Treadwell and his girlfriend are just overwhelming me. It's definitely not a "before bed" kind of read. In fact, the last time I picked it up, it was more like a "before bed and then not sleep until about 5 am, even after trying to read something else and watch some TV" kind of read.

All the same, what a fasc
Sep 13, 2008 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's important to note that if you go into reading this book without seeing the movie Grizzly Man, I would imagine that it would be confusing. As it happens, I saw Grizzly Man this past spring, and this book is all about Timothy Treadwell, his interactions with bears, and other people's perspectives on this.
What this book does is to interview people about what happened with Timothy Treadwell and talk about the way he interacted with Alaskan Bears. It talks about why Treadwell stands out from oth
Peregrine 12
I bought this book on a whim and it sat on my shelf for 2 years before I read it. And then I read it because it was the book at the top of the book-box when I moved into a new house and hadn't unpacked yet.

That confessed, once I did read it, I got into it. It took a little while - 20 pages or so - but the author's description of Treadwell's life and history was, to me, very interesting. Even more interesting, though, is the thorough review of bears, bear attack statistics, and ongoing bear rese
A much saner, lucid account of the Treadwell story. It finally dawned on me that neither author actually heard the infamous audio tape. The verbatims differ slightly where they should not differ at all. Neither admits to not hearing the tape first hand, either.

I do want to note that in the matter of WHY the camera was turned on, allegedly Treadwell had a line on an enormous financial payoff if he could produce footage of an attacking bear. This would not only explain the camera, it also explains
May 16, 2008 P. rated it it was amazing
This book tells of Timothy Treadwell's very spotted career and life as a modern-day 'hero'. Quite often, people start advocating and publicizing things and events for their own reasons. Such a one was Timothy Treadwell. His love of 'his' Grizzly bears was the core of his existence. But, as is detailed in the book in hand: 1. His assertion that he was 'protecting the bears from poachers' was false. 2. His assertion that he was protecting the bears from human interference was false. He was a major ...more
In October of 2003 Timothy Treadwell and Amie Huguenard were mauled and killed by a bear in Alaska's Katmai National Park. The first half of the book is about Timothy and his obsession with the bears. Very little about Amie, just a mention here and there. The second half of the book is about myths and statistics of a bear killing or harming humans. The whole book touches on activist and researchers alike on what happen that day. A audiotape in the only living witness to the horrific day and even ...more
Feb 25, 2008 Erin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
This book caught my eye because I loved the documentary "Grizzly Man" by the great Werner Herzog and Treadwell's story is rather fascinating. Jans refers to his "intertwining capacity for greatness and folly", and after having seen the movie and read the book, I would say that the scale tips toward to 98% or so. Definitely a different vibe to the book versus the movie; the book's tone is more understanding and I enjoyed the distinct views.

My only quarrel with the book is the amoun
Aug 28, 2008 Linnae rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: true-tales
Jans offers a fair portrayal of a complex man and his tragic death. He introduces Treadwell, separates fact from fiction on several accounts, and introduces a whole cast of characters--Treadwell's friends, a few enemies, and several others who had an opinion on who he was and what he was doing. As you might expect, also delves into some natural history on bears, and their relation to man. Leaves us with more questions than answers, but perhaps that is inevitable, given the way Treadwell's life e ...more
Sep 05, 2007 Dani rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
I recently ranted about Treadwell in my journal after seeing Herzog's film Grizzly Man. I thought that this book would piss me off even more. Well, I was wrong. This is a more sympathetic view on Treadwell that is very well written. It doesn't absolve Treadwell of his actions but tries to explain his motives and how his path brought him to Alaska. The author recounts the discovery of the bodies of Treadwell and Huguenard and the aftermath. He interviews people who despised Treadwell and those wh ...more
Nov 16, 2008 Kat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-information
The cover originally caught my eye as I was browsing but I was drawn back to it in hopes of learning more about this bear from "underneath my bed". It is more than a recount of Treadwell's last moments or a judgement of the choices he made which lead to his and Amie's deaths. Jans offers interpretations of the evidence, first person interview information from several of the park and law enforcement personnel involved in the original rescue attempt. I may have been looking for THE answer of what ...more
Phil Behrens
Nov 03, 2008 Phil Behrens rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've finally finished thee book and WOW, it is good. At first we learn about tim's history, how he went to college for swimmin and injures his back. Then he turns to drugs and messes his life up for a while. Later on we finally learn about the grizzly maze and More about Tim tredwell. This book is just so interestinig. How he gives the bears names and plays with them, swims with them and looks out for them, or so he thouoght. Then one day Tim and his girlfriend are killed by a grizzly. There was ...more
Feb 11, 2016 Joanne rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating account of what might have gone wrong for Timothy Treadweall (and girlfriend Amy Huguenard), who camped out in the late fall among the grizzlies of Alaska's Katmai region. Although Treadwell had successfully lived among the grizzlies for summer after summer in AK, something went fatally wrong this time, and we are left to surmise that as much as we might know and love the animals in our lives, they are, at the end of the day, ultimately unpredictable. Perhaps we can best protect them ...more
Nov 23, 2008 Lucy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book's been on my to-read list since watching "Grizzly Man", also about Timothy Treadwell and his interest in and ultimate death by bears. He spent summers camping in Alaska and living with brown bears till he and a friend were killed there in 2003. The book covers Treadwell's story but also branches out to talk about the aftermath of the deaths and the greater themes of people coexisting with bears and the balance of appreciating/interacting with and protecting something as large and dange ...more
Apr 16, 2008 Jenett rated it really liked it
As part of ongoing reading about bears - I'd read this when it orginally came out, but wanted to read it again, because (in and around the specific story), there are some fascinating looks both at bear interactions with humans, and the different factions of thought about how you deal with that.

This time through, I found the last chapter (which looks at some brand-new-at-publication information about bear research, and specifically bear attacks - that is utterly intriguing (and that goes against
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Nick Jans is an award-winning writer, photographer, and author of numerous books, including The Grizzly Maze. He is a contributing editor to Alaska Magazine and has written for Rolling Stone, Backpacker, and the Christian Science Monitor.
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