Just the mention of global climate change brings the angry deniers out of the woodwork. Too bad they won’t get as worked up about what the reality of human behavior is doing to the polar bear (oh, and author Richard Ellis includes photos of the difference between his visit to the North Pole in 1994 and a similar trip in 2000, which are visual proof of diminishing polar ice). Of course, as Ellis makes clear, non-native peoples have been wreaking havoc on the polar bear since we first stumbled across them: putting them in kings’ menageries, hunting them for skins and fat, and pretty much shooting any bear that got close enough. A chapter is devoted to the more sustainable relationship between the indigenous hunters and the polar bear, as well as to their use in zoos and circuses. This is an eminently readable overview of the bear from the top of the world.