Talking with Bears

Conversations with Charlie Russell

Rocky Mountain Books (2020)


Since white settlement of North America, grizzly bears have been feared as unpredictable, dangerous misfits. This image has led to their near extinction. Now, formerly a stronghold for trophy hunting, British Columbia banned grizzly hunting and established the first grizzly bear wilderness sanctuary. Charlie Russell was a chief architect of this change. Built on a decade of conversations with author Gay Bradshaw, Talking with Bears: Conversations with Charlie Russell explores the philosophy and science of this remarkable man and how he was able to live peaceably among Grizzlies for the seventy-plus years of his life.

Talking with Bears travels with Charlie from his native Alberta to the Yukon, Alaska, British Columbia, and Russia as he delves deeply into the lives and minds of bears. We listen to Charlie’s internal journey as he evolved from the pioneer view of bears as fearsome menaces to becoming a mother bear for ten orphaned brown bear cubs in Russia’s Far East wilderness, Kamchatka. Through the lessons from the bears, we hear voices of other teachers who advocate for the embrace of a new, but ancient, way of being—what Richard Rohr refers to as nondual thinking, Eckhart Tolle, presence, Thich Nhat Hanh, loving kindness, and quantum physicist David Bohm, wholeness. Talking with Bears is written for everyone and anyone yearning to revitalize their relationship with nature.