Shape in the Dark

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UPC: 9781680513097
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Authors: Bjorn Dihle
  • Publisher : Mountaineers Books (March 1, 2021)
  • Language : English
  • Paperback : 208 pages
  • ISBN-10 : 1680513095
  • ISBN-13 : 978-1680513097

In A Shape in the Dark, wilderness guide and lifelong Alaskan Bjorn Dihle weaves personal experience with historical and contemporary accounts to explore the world of brown bears--from encounters with the Lewis and Clark Expedition, frightening attacks including the famed death of Timothy Treadwell, the controversies related to bear hunting, the animal’s place in native cultures, and the impacts on the species from habitat degradation and climate change. Much more than a report on human-bear interactions, this compelling story intimately explores our relationship with one of the world’s most powerful predators. An authentic and thoughtful work, it blends outdoor adventure, history, and elements of memoir to present a mesmerizing portrait of Alaska’s brown bears and grizzlies, informed by the species’ larger history and their fragile future.



A Shape in the Dark is an at times terrifying, but always thoughtful and vivid portrayal of America’s storied history with brown bears. You’ll find yourself listening for a twig to snap or alder to sway as Bjorn Dihle transports you to another world, one where you are not at the top of the food chain. These tales will stick with you long after you close the book. -- Alex Messenger, author of The Twenty-Ninth Day

With its vivid prose, this moving homage to Alaska and those who live there really hits home. ― Publishers Weekly

To walk in the land of the mighty grizzly bear is to delve into the wild of our being. Bjorn Dihle takes us on this journey, exploring those who walked before him, and praying that those who follow can discover their own true nature. -- Amy Gulick, author of The Salmon Way: An Alaska State of Mind

Approaching nature from a personal perspective, Bjorn Dihle’s A Shape in the Dark overturns the media myth of brown bears as vicious, deranged killers, constructing a poignant portrait of the creatures that recognizes their true complexity. ― Foreword Reviews

Unflinchingly authentic, intensely personal, artfully told, and deeply moving, A Shape in the Dark ranks as not only one of the best bear books, but one of the greatest Alaska books ever. -- Nick Jans, author of The Grizzly Maze and A Wolf Called Romeo

[A Shape in the Dark] offers thoughtful, nuanced depictions of human-bear interactions from both centuries ago and the modern day. The book tells a series of bear stories―each chapter is generally self-contained, but past stories are occasionally referenced―that show an evolving understanding. -- Ben Hohenstatt ― Juneau Empire

About the Author

Writer and wilderness and wildlife film guide, Bjorn Dihle is a contributing editor for Alaska Magazine and Hunt Alaska Magazine and has been published in Outdoor LifeSierraHigh Country News, and Birdwatching, among others. He is the author of two books, Haunted Inside Passage: Ghosts, Mysteries, and Legends of Southeast Alaska and Never Cry Halibut: And Other Alaska Hunting and Fishing Tales. A native of Southeast Alaska, he lives on Douglas Island with his family.