“Full of drama, adventure, tragedy, and heroes fighting against the most daunting of odds, No Word for Wilderness shows us what nature writing can be. ” J. Scott Bryson, author of The West Side of Any Mountain 

In Italian, there is no word for wilderness. Yet only fifty milefrom Rome, the rarest grizzlies on earth roam the mountains of central Italy, and they are fighting to survive amid encroaching development, local and international politics, and the mafia.

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 that, if successful, promises to change how we see not only Italy but all of Europe.

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 fifty individuals, they face a critical future as multiple forces, from farmers to the mob, collide within their territory. 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 we 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.

Award-winning author Roger Thompson has traveled throughout Italy documenting the history and current crises of these bears, and 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.

Selected Publications on Nature/Enviroment:
No Word for Wilderness. Ashland, OR: Ashland Creek Press, 2018.

Early American Nature Writers. Co-edited with Daniel Patterson and J. Scott Bryson. New York: Greenwood Press, 2008.

Dictionary of Literary Biography, Twentieth-Century American Nature Writers: Poetry. Co-edited with J. Scott Bryson. Detroit: BCL, Inc, 2008.
"Red in the Woods." Streetlight Magazine 4 (Fall 2005): 108-109. Winner of the Streetlight Magazine/WMRA Award for Best Nonfiction.
Syndicated on Public Radio, February 2005.

"Stories to Tell." Lake Country Journal 9.3 (May/June 2005): 34.

Dictionary of Literary Biography, Twentieth-Century American Nature Writers: Prose. Co-edited with J. Scott Bryson. Detroit: BCL, Inc., 2003.

"Emerson, Divinity, and Rhetoric in Transcendentalist Nature Writing and Twentieth- Century Eco-Poetry." Ecological Poetry: A Critical Introduction. Ed. J. Scott Bryson. Salt Lake City: Utah UP, 2002. 29-38.

"Reading on the Rocks." Blue Ridge Outdoors (June 2002): 17.

Ruins above Pescaserroli. Roger Thompson, 2016