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190 × 135 × 15 mm
224 pages
105 illustrations, 95 in colour
11 Nov 2019

Polar Bear Margery Fee

Polar bears are truly majestic animals: the largest land-dwelling carnivore on earth, they can measure up to 3 metres in length, and weigh up to 700 kilograms. They are also iconic in other ways – a symbol of the climate change debate, with their survival now threatened by the loss of Arctic ice. Their images decorate fountains and the cornices of buildings across Europe. They sell cold drinks. They feature in children’s books, on merry-go-rounds, and under the arms of weary toddlers heading for bed. Their pelts were once highly prized by hunters and live captures became attractions in zoos and circuses. Stuffed bears still haunt museums and stately homes.

This is a natural and cultural history of the polar bear, describing the evolution, species, habitat and behaviour of the animal, as well as its portrayal in art, literature, film and advertising. With many fine images throughout, this will appeal to the wide audience who love these outsize, beautiful, seemingly cuddly yet deadly carnivores.

‘Outside of the Arctic, humans have rarely understood polar bears. But we have repeatedly projected our own ever-shifting values onto them. This is one of the messages driven home by Margery Fee’s Polar Bear, a historical, cultural and biological meditation on a majestic animal whose fate is entwined with humanity’s . . . engaging and deeply philosophical discussion of an animal she sees as immeasurably valuable but widely misunderstood . . . richly illustrated with archival and modern day images, packed with scientific and historic facts, and driven by Fee’s forceful views, which skirt the mainstream and offer a different perspective.’ — Anchorage Daily News

‘Margery Fee’s Polar Bear is a compelling story about the interface between polar bears and people . . . The appearance and feel of the book, and its captivating story‐telling style captured my attention. I enjoyed reading it, and all readers will find new information and have their thoughts provoked by the many threads presented.’ — Bulletin of the Ecological Society of America

‘Fee makes a solid contribution to the Animal series, presenting polar bears through stemmatics, ethology, conservation concerns, art and culture, ecotourism, zoos, circuses, and other forms of conspicuous display’ — Lection

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Margery Fee is Emerita Professor of English at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada. Her most recent book is Literary Land Claims: The 'Indian Land Question' from Pontiac’s War to Attawapiskat (2015).


1 Early Encounters
2 It’s a Bear’s Life
3 Arctic Spectacle
4 Entertaining Polar Bears
5 It Takes Two to Tangle
6 Save the Polar Bears!

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