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The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival (Vintage Departures)by John Vaillant
Synopses & Reviews
It's December 1997, and a man-eating tiger is on the prowl outside a remote village in Russia's Far East. The tiger isn't just killing people, it's annihilating them, and a team of men and their dogs must hunt it on foot through the forest in the brutal cold. As the trackers sift through the gruesome remains of the victims, they discover that these attacks aren't random: the tiger is apparently engaged in a vendetta. Injured, starving, and extremely dangerous, the tiger must be found before it strikes again.
As he re-creates these extraordinary events, John Vaillant gives us an unforgettable portrait of this spectacularly beautiful and mysterious region. We meet the native tribes who for centuries have worshiped and lived alongside tigers, even sharing their kills with them. We witness the arrival of Russian settlers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, soldiers and hunters who greatly diminished the tiger populations. And we come to know their descendants, who, crushed by poverty, have turned to poaching and further upset the natural balance of the region.
This ancient, tenuous relationship between man and predator is at the very heart of this remarkable book. Throughout we encounter surprising theories of how humans and tigers may have evolved to coexist, how we may have developed as scavengers rather than hunters, and how early Homo sapiens may have fit seamlessly into the tiger's ecosystem. Above all, we come to understand the endangered Siberian tiger, a highly intelligent super-predator that can grow to ten feet long, weigh more than six hundred pounds, and range daily over vast territories of forest and mountain.
Beautifully written and deeply informative, The Tiger circles around three main characters: Vladimir Markov, a poacher killed by the tiger; Yuri Trush, the lead tracker; and the tiger himself. It is an absolutely gripping tale of man and nature that leads inexorably to a final showdown in a clearing deep in the taiga.
“Magnificent....Suspenseful....The Tiger offers readers a shiver-inducing portrait of a predator.” San Francisco Chronicle
“A masterpiece....What elevates The Tiger from adventure yarn to nonfiction classic is Vaillant’s mastery of language.” Outside
“[A] riveting story....Vaillant’s book teaches a lesson that humankind desperately needs to remember: When you murder a tiger, you not only kill a strong and beautiful beast, you extinguish a passionate soul.” Washington Post
“[An] epic story....A travelogue about tiger poaching in Russia’s far east opens up a new genre....[the] conservation thriller." Nature
“If ever a nonfiction author has used the techniques of fiction any better to recount a real-life narrative, it is difficult to imagine who that author would be....Think of Vaillant as a younger version of John McPhee, but on steroids.” The Seattle Times
Book News Annotation:
Vaillant, a nonfiction writer, tells the story of how a Siberian tiger in Primorye Territory in Russia's Far East attacked and killed a man in 1997 and a team of trackers was dispatched to hunt it down before it could hurt more people. He describes the region, its history and politics, and its tigers and their behavior; the problem of tiger poaching; the work of the Inspection Tiger unit; the investigation into the murder; further attacks; and how the tiger was finally found and killed. Annotation ©2011 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A gripping story of man pitted against nature’s most fearsome and efficient predator.
Outside a remote village in Russia’s Far East a man-eating tiger is on the prowl. The tiger isn’t just killing people, it’s murdering them, almost as if it has a vendetta. A team of trackers is dispatched to hunt down the tiger before it strikes again. They know the creature is cunning, injured, and starving, making it even more dangerous. As John Vaillant re-creates these extraordinary events, he gives us an unforgettable and masterful work of narrative nonfiction that combines a riveting portrait of a stark and mysterious region of the world and its people, with the natural history of nature’s most deadly predator.
About the Author
John Vaillant's first book was the national bestseller The Golden Spruce, which won the Governor General's Literary Award for nonfiction, as well as several other awards. He has written for The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Outside, National Geographic and The Walrus, among other publications. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with his wife and children.
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