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Monster of God: The Man-Eating Predator in the Jungles of History and the Mindby David Quammen
"To find yourself on someone else's dinner plate is profoundly humbling. For David Quammen this edibility is an important psychological condition. The knowledge that, potentially, we were prey, has been a check on our pride, and, argues Quammen, a key to our sense of belonging to a larger entity which is all life on earth. So what will happen to us when the monsters have gone? David Quammen suggests that by the year 2150 our human population will have stabilized at 11 billion, and that all alpha predators will be behind bars, fences or plate glass. This book examines that which we are about to lose — not the species so much as the states of mind." Stephen Mills, The Times Literary Supplement (read the entire Times Literary Supplement review)
Synopses & Reviews
The beasts that have always ruled our jungles and our nightmares are dying. What will become of us without them? For millennia, lions, tigers, and their man-eating kin have kept our dark, scary forests dark and scary, and their predatory majesty has been the stuff of folklore. But by the year 2150 big predators may only exist on the other side of glass barriers and chain-link fences. Their gradual disappearance is changing the very nature of our existence. We no longer occupy an intermediate position on the food chain; instead we survey it invulnerably from above—so far above that we are in danger of forgetting that we even belong to an ecosystem. Casting his expert eye over the rapidly diminishing areas of wilderness where predators still reign, the award-winning author of The Song of the Dodo examines the fate of lions in India's Gir forest, of saltwater crocodiles in northern Australia, of brown bears in the mountains of Romania, and of Siberian tigers in the Russian Far East. In the poignant and troublesome ferocity of these embattled creatures, we recognize something primeval deep within us, something in danger of vanishing forever. 8 maps.
"Erudite, witty, and utterly fascinating...sets a new standard in nature writing." T. Coraghessan Boyle
"The crisp reportorial immediacy and sobering analysis make for a book that is as powerful and frightening as the animals it chronicles." Publishers Weekly
"Rich with personal stories that clarify humanity's true place in the universe, this book will leave the reader eager for more.... This has all the makings of a science book of the year." Library Journal
"Another good and provocative work from Quammen, sure to engage past admirers and earn new ones." Kirkus Reviews
Book News Annotation:
Natural history and fiction writer Quammen explores the psychological, mythic, and spiritual dimensions of the relationship between one flesh-eating animal and one human victim. He believes that relationship has played a crucial role in shaping the way people construe their place in the natural world. His sojourn ranges from old literature such as Beowulf and Gilgamesh, to the movie Alien Resurrection.
Annotation ©2004 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
Exploring the areas of wilderness where predators still reign, this title examines how their gradual disappearance is changing the nature of our existence. We no longer occupy an intermediate position on the food chain, in fact we are in danger of forgetting that we even belong to an ecosystem.
Includes bibliographical references (p. 451-479) and index.
About the Author
Recipient of an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, David Quammen is the author of five acclaimed natural history titles.
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