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About the Author

Image credit: Sélection du Reader's Digest

Works by Robert Franklin Leslie

Associated Works

The Bears and I [1974 film] — Original book — 6 copies


Common Knowledge




I stumbled upon this book, quite by accident, on one of the dollar carts at the Brattle Book Shop on West Street in Boston. I nearly passed it by, but its colorful dust jacket attracted attention. The brief synopsis hooked me, and I purchased it for $1.05 (including sales tax). Simply stated, this was, by far, the best book buy I have ever made, and I own thousands of books, accumulated over more than fifty years as an ardent reader.

It is the true story of a young man in the early 1930's who needed money to complete college, and decided to try his luck panning for gold in the North Woods of British Columbia. He arranged to stay in a primitive cabin on Babine Lake in a remote area, sparsely populated by Indians, and overflowing with wildlife. His rent: half of the gold dust he could sluice and pan from the creek that ran past the cabin into the lake.

One day an old female, who had taken in three orphaned black bear cubs, decided she was too old to raise another family, and she left the bears at the cabin, in care of the author, Bob Leslie. At first the cubs were shy, and refused to leave the tree they hid in. But, eventually they got hungry, and began to overcome their fear of man.

Over the next three years Leslie raised them from little cubs to full-grown adults, teaching them the skills they needed to survive in the woods. He was careful not to domesticate them, but he couldn't prevent them from bonding with one another, and with him.

This incredible story can be enjoyed on many levels. It is a thrilling outdoors adventure. It is a reminiscence of a simpler time, in a remote wilderness, where survival was always a daily struggle. It is the story of the interpersonal relationships that developed among Rusty, Dusty, Scratch, and the author -- the love they all felt for one another, and the ways in which they communicated.

This well written book is one you cannot put down, and once you complete it, it will stay with you. For the life of me I cannot understand why it was allowed to go out of print. It is not easy to find used, and the copies being sold on Amazon are expensive. They are worth the prices being charged, but you will not appreciate that until you have read the book too. Find it, in the library, at a yard sale, online -- anywhere! But, find it if you can, and read it, and be amazed.
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2 vote
RGaryRasmussen | Apr 2, 2009 |


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