Night of the Grizzlies

by Jack Olsen

Hardcover, 1969

Status

Available

Publication

New York, Putnam [1969]

User reviews

LibraryThing member Stbalbach
Night of the Grizzlies was originally published as a 3-part series in Sports Illustrated by journalist Jack Olsen concerning the deaths of two young women in separate bear attacks on the same night in Glacier National Park in the summer of 1967. It's not unusual today when hikers are killed by grizzlies but it was abnormal in 67'. In the parks 57-year history up to that point there had never been a fatal bear attack - and yet two separate fatal attacks on the same evening. What caused the bears to rampage? Olsen does a careful step by step recreation of events in the week or so before the killings to find out. The story-telling is masterful.… (more)
LibraryThing member BookConcierge
Over the course of U.S. history, the grizzly bear’s environment has been steadily encroached upon by man, the grizzly’s only enemy. Once roaming over the Great Plains and mountains of the western United States, they have retreated to the few remaining wilderness areas that afford them sufficient food. Still, they remain solitary and typically avoid humans. In this nonfiction work, Olsen explores the events that culminated in one night of terror in August 1967 when two young women were savagely attacked by grizzly bears.

I love reading ‘true crime’ and this work has all the hallmarks of the best of that genre. Olsen gives us an explanation and history of the various parties involved – park rangers, temporary concessionaire employees, casual hikers, physicians, birders, families, older couples, exuberant teenagers, and long-term residents. He also recounts the unusual number of bear sightings in Glacier National Park during the summer of 1967, and even more unusual number of “encounters” between bears and humans.

It’s important to remember that this was set in an era before cell phones or other forms of instant communication we are so used to today. I applaud the courage of the rangers and hikers who went to the aid of those attacked. I don’t know if I would have ventured out into the night to investigate the screams. Olsen doesn’t shy from exposing bureaucratic inefficiency, nor the fault of “tourists” who fail to understand the real dangers of a wild environment.

The pace is unrelenting and the tension builds to an unendurable pitch. I reluctantly stopped reading because it was after midnight and I couldn’t keep my eyes open much longer. I should have stopped an hour earlier, or just kept going until I finished. Even though I live in a decidedly suburban area, in a secure home and without any evidence of any type of bear within 500 miles, every slight noise fueled my imagination, and I had a fretful night and little sleep.
… (more)
LibraryThing member BookDoc16
A first-rate account of an horrific occurrence, from one of America's finest non-fiction writers. On August 12, 1967, two separate attacks by grizzly bears in Glacier National Park resulted in two deaths. Olsen tells us step-by-step of the days and events that led up to the attacks, and moment-by-moment of their aftermath. Never flinching from details, neither does he flinch from assigning blame where it inevitably points -- and the much-needed changes that these tragedies precipitated.… (more)

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Barcode

8669

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