As a fellow zookeeper, (and, briefly, of American black bears), I highly recommend Else Poulsen's book. Her observations and understanding of bears are wonderful and informative, and I learned a great deal. I only wish there had been some photos to illustrate some of the 'bear expressions' she describes ~ maybe in the next edition!
It is easy when talking about animals to find that there are those people who are scared of bears and hence would just as soon they were all gone or behind bars and those who think the animals are incredible and take their love of bears to an such an extreme that they want to pet and cuddle them. This author writes of captive bears in a way that will make you laugh, cry and ultimately understand quite a bit more about this animal. No they are not cuddly pets but they are seriously intelligent and as such deserve our respect, admiration and interest. I thought the author portrayed the bears in a clear, common sense light and it was fascinating to learn things about bears that we might not learn as fast from wild bears, but all the things I learned about wild bears spending four summers as a bear guide in Alaska were reinforced in this book as well. There is new stuff here, and if you are interested in animals this is piece of the puzzle you can't afford to miss.
This is one zoo keeper's memoir of working with large bears in Canadian and American zoological parks. She writes clearly and memorably about the personalities of her charges, never treating them like humans, appreciating their bear-ness and working hard to make life more bearable for them. Her affection and respect for these large carnivores (well, fine, omnivores but look at those teeth!) and their complexities moved me a great deal. None of them were your average bears, all had unique spirits and intelligence. I found it fascinating and as I say, the relationships between the bears and this keeper very moving.