Your Montana Public Radio
Wed November 6, 2013
Doug Peacock Looks into The Shadow of the Sabertooth
During this program filmmaker and naturalist Doug Peacock talks about his latest book, In the Shadow of the Sabertooth: A Renegade Naturalist Considers Global Warming, the First Americans and the Terrible Beasts of the Pleistocene.
About the Book:
For the past 12,000 years, the earth has experienced a relatively stable climate. Today, that predictability has ended, and global warming is our new reality. Yet such shifting weather patterns threatened Homo sapiens once before, right here in North America as the continent was first being colonized. About 15,000 years ago, the weather began to warm, melting the glaciers of the Late Pleistocene and driving the beasts of the Ice Age toward extinction. In this new landscape, humans managed to adapt to unfamiliar habitats and dangerous creatures in the midst of a wildly fluctuating climate. Are there lessons for modern people lingering along this ancient trail?
Renegade naturalist Doug Peacock’s thrilling narrative explores the full range of climate change, from the death of the Pleistocene megafauna to the disappearance of today’s ice. In the Shadow of the Sabertooth is a deeply personal odyssey that follows Peacock from archeological digs in Michigan and Montana, to the tiger haunted forests of Siberia, along the wild coast of the Pacific Northwest, into the rugged arroyos of Mexico and the American Southwest.
Doug Peacock grew up in Michigan. After college and two tours as a Special Forces medic in the Central Highlands of Vietnam (for which he received the Soldier’s Medal, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and the Bronze Star), Peacock was repatriated to the Rocky Mountains, the wild deserts and tundras of North America. It was there he met the late author Edward Abbey, who used Peacock to mold his iconic character, George Washington Hayduke.
After the war, Doug crawled back into mountains and found solitude in wilderness to be exactly what he needed to confront the demons of Vietnam. In Grizzly Years, Doug credits grizzly bears with restoring his soul. He has been the most consistent advocate for grizzly bears for the last 40 years, traveling between Yellowstone and Glacier national parks to film them and document their struggles to survive. For the last three decades, he has lectured and written widely about wilderness: from bears to buffalo, from the Sierra Madres of the Sonoran desert to the fjords of British Columbia, from the tigers of Siberia to the blue sheep of Nepal.
Peacockg Peacock's books include Grizzly Years: In Search of the American Wilderness (Henry Holt, 1990), ¡Baja! (Bulfinch Press, 1991), Walking It Off: A Veteran’s Chronicle of War and Wilderness (Eastern Washington University Press, 2005), and The Essential Grizzly: The Mingled Fates of Men and Bears (The Lyons Press, 2006), which was co-written with Andrea Peacock.
Peacock was named a 2007 Guggenheim Fellow and a Lannan Fellow in 2011 for his work on about archeology, climate change and the peopling of North America, published in 2013 as In the Shadow of the Sabertooth: A Renegade Naturalist Considers Global Warming, the First Americans and the Terrible Beasts of the Pleistocene (Counterpunch/AK Press).
Doug was the subject of a feature film about grizzlies and Vietnam, Peacock’s War, which premiered on PBS’s Nature, and won the grand prizes at the Telluride Mountainfilm and the Snowbird film festivals. He has appeared on television shows including the Today Show, Good Morning America, NBC Evening News, PM Magazine, Sesame Street, The American Sportsman and Democracy Now!.
He lectures regularly about wilderness and veterans issues, and has made two appearances on Fresh Air as well as other NPR segments including This American Life with Scott Carrier.
Doug Peacock lives in Emigrant, Montana, and spends considerable time in the Sonoran Desert, southeast Utah and with the grizzlies of Glacier and Yellowstone national parks.