NEW FROM THE UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON PRESS:
The Cultural History of an Arctic Icon=
By MICHAEL ENGELHARD
288 pp., 170 illus., 145 in color, 8 x 10 in. $29.95 paperback, November 2016
Prime Arctic predator and nomad of the sea ice and tundra, the polar bear endures as a source of wonder, terror, and fascination. Humans have seen it
as spirit guide and fanged enemy, as trade good and moral metaphor, as food source and symbol of ecological crisis. Eight thousand years of artifacts attest to its charisma, and to the fraught relationships between our two species. In the White Bear, we acknowledge the magic of wildness: it is both genuinely itself and a screen for our imagination.
Ice Bear traces and illuminates this intertwined history. From Inuit shamans to Jean Harlow lounging on a bearskin rug, from the cubs trained to pull sleds toward the North Pole to cuddly superstar Knut, it all comes to life in these pages. With meticulous research and more than 160 illustrations, the author brings into focus this powerful and elusive animal. Doing so, he delves into the stories we tell about Nature—and about ourselves—hoping for a future in which such tales still matter.
MICHAEL ENGELHARD works as a wilderness guide in Arctic Alaska and holds an MA in cultural anthropology from the University of Alaska Fairbanks. His books include a recent essay collection, American Wild: Explorations from the Grand Canyon to the Arctic Ocean. His writing has also appeared in Sierra, Outside, Audubon, National Wildlife, National Parks, High Country News, and the San Francisco Chronicle. He has included images from the Uelen Printmaking workshop in this book.
“Engelhard’s thought-provoking iconography explores in depth the multitude of cultural roles played by the polar bear.”
—David Fox, Anchorage Press
“Engelhard weaves together the disparate pieces of our eclectic social and cultural fascination with polar bears. A tapestry of images reveals our complex attachment to this Arctic icon.”—Andrew Derocher, author of Polar Bears: A Complete Guide to their Biology and Behavior
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UNIVERSITY OF WASHINGTON PRESS