Praise for Down from the Mountain
Winner of the Banff Mountain Book Competition's Mountain Environment & Natural History Award
A Literary Hub Most Anticipated Title of 2019
An EcoWatch Best Book of April
A Missoulian Best Book of April
A Chicago Review of Books Best Book of April
"The two sides of Bryce Andrews — enlightened rancher and sensitive writer — appear to make a smooth fit...Precise and evocative prose."
"Andrews’s writing about wilderness is much like that of author Rick Bass, who displays both a healthy reverence for ecology and an easy way of talking about it. This story is not just about Andrews’s shift from rancher to conservationist. It’s an ode to wildness and wilderness in the form of grizzlies. It’s about the tightrope bears walk between living in their mountainous territory, consuming pine nuts, army cutworm moths, and winterkill, versus coming down the mountain to scavenge in human territory. It’s about the resulting relationship between humans and grizzlies when they live in close proximity."
“Bryce Andrews’ wonderful Downfrom the Mountain is deeply informed by personal experience and made all the stronger by his compassion and measured thoughts. He outlines clearly the core of a major problem in the rural American West—the disagreement between large predatory animals and invasive modern settlers—without disrespect and without sentimentality. His book is welcome and impressive work.”
“In some of the clearest prose the state of Montana has produced, this high-octane story captures the marvel that is a grizzly giving birth in the high wild, follows her down into the human interface, and floods us with the heightened awareness and humbling unease we feel in the presence of Ursus arctos. When the hubris of man-unkind then threatens his protagonists, Andrews lays his life on the line in a sustained attempt to protect them, and the suspense of the telling comes to rival a great crime thriller. Rife with lyrical precision, first-hand know-how, ursine charisma, and a narrative jujitsu flip that places all empathy with his bears, Down from the Mountain is a one-of-a-kind triumph even here in the home of Doug Peacock and Douglas Chadwick.”
—David James Duncan, author of The River Why and The Brothers K
"Would that we had more nature writing like Bryce Andrews’s fantastic second book, Down from the Mountain. Part biography of the Mission Valley in Montana, informed by the Blackfeet and Salish histories rooted there, it tells a moving modern tale of how ranchers and big predators overlap uneasily on that land today...Down from the Mountain eschews easy moral scrimmaging...A subtle and beautifully unexpected book...Readers hungry for yet another torch bearer to the ways of thinking of the wild that Barry Lopez and Leslie Marmon Silko made possible should look no further."
"A cautionary tale of human-grizzly coexistence (or lack thereof). The book helps to illustrate the broader issues affecting grizzlies as their populations grow, pushing them closer and closer to humans."
"The reader learns the history of the Salish land, and the varied newcomers to the valley and efforts to preserve and protect the grizzlies."
—The Missoulian, "Montana Bookshelf"
"Beautifully written...Andrews conveys his passion for the west’s landscape and inhabitants through his sensitive writing, which avoids either anthropomorphizing the wildlife or villainizing ordinary people...His book is a testament to his compassion."
"Andrews' writing reaches high peaks in Down from the Mountain...Andrews artfully describes the awe inspired by grizzlies...Down from the Mountain’s prose ranges in tone from graceful to elegiac to gripping."
—Pacific Northwest Inlander
“In stunning prose, as powerful as the grizzly itself, Andrews’s draws the reader into the mysterious lives of these bears. From deep in their pungent winter dens we emerge with them into the spring light, pad along forest trails, smell every molecule of wild and human. We are also the farmer, sweat-soaked, protecting the sweet corn. When these two worlds—bear and human—collide, all is unpredictable and precarious. Down from the Mountain will sear its beauty and sorrow into your soul. Required reading for all Homo sapiens.”
—Elisabeth Tova Bailey, author of The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating
“The fluidity of Andrews’ imagination and the reality of his time on the ground with people and bears make this book a piece of true history. He is not a journalist, but a participant with skin in the game, who happens to be an excellent writer. Putting up fence along the porous line between humans and big, foraging bears, Andrews is the one you'd want telling this story.”
—Craig Childs, author of The Animal Dialogues and Atlas of a Lost World
“In Down from the Mountain, Bryce Andrews walks the harrowing line between wilderness and civilization—as in literally walks it, recounting his own efforts to keep a space in the world for the untamed creatures that remind us who we are in the first place. Writing with a keen empathy for both the great grizzlies of Montana’s Mission Mountains, and the farmers and wildlife officers coping in the valley below, this book is by turns heartbreaking and hopeful, even while it zings along with the high-stakes pace of a thriller. It’s as true as it gets.”
—Malcolm Brooks, author of Painted Horses
“Returning home from ten days in the backcountry, I devoured this fabulous and feral book in a single sitting and found myself utterly immersed in the ‘unforgiving arcadia’ that is our vanishing West. ‘Bears are made of the same dust as we,’ John Muir reminds us, and this marvelous narrative, even in passages devoid of humans—perhaps especially in those passages—draws us into communion with these uncompromisingly powerful wild creatures, to the heartbreaking consequences of our inevitable encounters with them, and to one man's profound compassion for them. For two decades as a hunter, angler and hiker I’ve traversed the very country described herein. I have never seen it with such sustained clarity as through the vital lens of Bryce Andrews’ luminous prose.”
—Chris Dombrowski, author of Body of Water
“A thoughtful story of bears, humans, and their tragic interactions...A gem of environmental writing fitting alongside the work of Doug Peacock, Roger Caras, and other champions of wildlife and wild land.”
—Kirkus Reviews, starred
“Andrews, a conservationist and rancher in Montana’s Mission Valley, examines drama...