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SBU’s Roger Thompson Writes to Help Save Rare Bears of Italy

No word for wilderness

Award-winning nonfiction author Roger Thompson, director of the Program in Writing and Rhetoric at Stony Brook University, has traveled throughout Italy documenting the history and current crises of the country’s brown bears. He documents the experience in an upcoming new book, No Word for Wilderness: Italy’s Grizzlies and the Race to Save the Rarest Bears on Earth (Ashland Creek Press, May 2018).

This meticulously researched and eye-opening book tells the incredible stories of two special populations of bears in Italy — one the last vestige of a former time that persists against all odds, the other a great experiment in rewilding. In Italian, there is no word for wilderness. Yet in the mountains of Italy, brown bears are fighting to survive amid encroaching development, local and international politics, and the mafia.

The Abruzzo bears of central Italy have survived amid one of the oldest civilizations on earth. But now, with numbers estimated at as low as 50 individuals, they face a critical future. The Slovenian bears of northern Italy, brought to the Alps at the turn of the century, have sparked controversy among local and international interests alike.

The stories of these bears take readers on a spectacular journey across Italy, where you come face-to-face not only with these fascinating species but with embattled park directors, heroic environmentalists, innovative scientists, and a public that is coming to terms with the importance of Italy’s rich natural history. The result is an engaging and in-depth examination that resonates across all endangered species and offers invaluable insights into the ever-evolving relationships between human and non-human animals in a rapidly changing world.

About Roger Thompson
Author Roger Thompson
Roger Thompson is an award-winning nonfiction writer, and his scholarship and nonfiction has appeared in numerous academic and non-academic journals. He is co-author of Beyond Duty: Life on the Frontline of Iraq, a bestselling Iraq War memoir that has been translated into several languages and was covered by major media outlets, including The New York Times, CNN, the CBC and NPR. He has an extensive background in undergraduate research, directing a cross-disciplinary, international environmental research program in Banff, Alberta, for a decade.


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