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The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival

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The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival Cover

 

Staff Pick

A fascinating attempt to see through the eyes of another creature, John Vaillant's The Tiger is an intelligent and beautifully written blend of history, anthropology, zoology, ecology, and adventure. Compelling and resonant, The Tiger is a rare work of nonfiction that reads as urgently as a good novel.
Recommended by Tessa, Powells.com

Review-A-Day

"Tigers are cunning creatures, and the structure of John Vaillant's The Tiger does their craftiness credit. The subtitle reads 'a true story of vengeance and survival,' words chosen to immediately grab one's attention, aided by the ragged, red claw marks scratched into the cover behind them. But, while visceral thrills abound throughout the book, what Vaillant is attempting proves much more elusive (and ultimately more compelling) than any mere story of bloody attacks." Nathan Weatherford, Powells.com (Read the entire Powells.com review)

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Its December 1997, and a man-eating tiger is on the prowl outside a remote village in Russias Far East. The tiger isnt just killing people, its 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 arent 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 worshipped 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 tigers 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.

Review:

"This elegant work of narrative non-fiction has it all — beauty, intrigue, a primeval locale, fully realized characters, and a conflict that speaks to the state of our world....Brilliant....Haunting and enchanting." Hampton Sides, author of Ghost Soldiers, Hellhound on His Trail, and Blood and Thunder

Review:

"This book must be read by everybody who is interested in the conservation of wildlife." Temple Grandin, Animals Make Us Human

Review:

"Magnificent....To call [it] a page-turner is an understatement. It's riveting." Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, author of The Hidden Life of Dogs and Tribe of The Tiger

Review:

"The Tiger is the sort of book I very much like and rarely find....A book not only for adventure buffs, but for all of us interested in wildlife habitat preservation." Annie Proulx

Review:

"A richly textured, compelling story of Nature and Man at odds — and at risk....John Vaillant does as much as any mortal hand or eye to frame the 'fearful symmetry' that burns in Blake's 'forests of the night.'" John J. Stephan, author of The Russian Far East

Review:

"Absolutely superb." George Schaller, Wildlife Conservation Society vice president, and author of National Book Award winner The Serengeti Lion

Synopsis:

The hunt for a man-eating tiger across the forbidding landscape of Russia’s Far East.

When Yuri Trush was called in to investigate an attack by a Siberian tiger, what he found was unlike anything he’d ever encountered. Nothing remained of the victim but stumps of bone protruding from his boots. Even more chilling was the evidence that this attack had been carefully orchestrated, as if the tiger was seeking revenge. Before long, the beast struck again, and Trush, leader of a tiger conservation unit, found himself forced to hunt this animal through the brutal cold of a Siberian winter, becoming intimately acquainted with the tiger’s history, motives, and unique method of attack — until their harrowing final encounter.

John Vaillant recreates these astonishing events against the backdrop of Russia’s most remote frontier, a place where the native peoples worship tigers but poachers threaten the species’ survival. He describes the historic collisions between Chinese and Russian settlers (trappers, thieves, deserters, and exiles), and the struggles of their descendants, who, in the chaotic aftermath of perestroika, turn to poaching to survive — in this case with deadly consequences.

A haunting, gripping exploration of predators and prey, and an intimate portrait of a remarkable animal increasingly threatened by interaction with humans.

Synopsis:

A haunting, gripping exploration of predators and prey, and an intimate portrait of a remarkable animal increasingly threatened by interaction with humans, this work recreates the hunt for a man-eating tiger across the forbidding landscape of Russia's Far East.

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About the Author

John Vaillant is also the author of The Golden Spruce. He has written for the New Yorker, the Atlantic, Outside, National Geographic Adventure, and Men’s Journal, among other publications. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with his wife and children.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 14 comments:

Colette Janning, January 17, 2012 (view all comments by Colette Janning)
Easily the best book I read this year. Mixing a ripping good yarn with relevant and fascinating ventures into history, evolutionary biology, ethology, and more, Vaillant presents an incredible story credibly, weaving painstaking research and hours of interviews into a final product that he the author then recedes from, so we are not distracted from the story, the people who were there--I devoured this book!
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
gamonlamon, January 28, 2011 (view all comments by gamonlamon)
I thought more would happen in the book. Too much background for my tastes.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
Janet Anderson, January 21, 2011 (view all comments by Janet Anderson)
I stayed awake all night to finish this book, and I already knew how it would end! The author supplied the background information about the political situation, the countryside, and the people, so that the main storyline was fully fleshed out. The tiger and the humans all come alive and worthy of study and understanding. I thoroughly enjoyed every minute I spent with the book.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
View all 14 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780307268938
Author:
Vaillant, John
Publisher:
Knopf Publishing Group
Subject:
Animals
Subject:
Animals - General
Subject:
Animals - Big Cats
Subject:
Tiger hunting - Russia - Russian far east
Subject:
Tiger attacks - Russia - Russian far east
Subject:
General-General
Publication Date:
20100831
Binding:
HARDCOVER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Illustrations:
8 PGS OF COLOR PHOTOS, 2 MAPS
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
9.50x6.58x1.26 in. 1.47 lbs.

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Related Subjects


Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Mammals » General
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » Mammals » Wild Cats
Science and Mathematics » Nature Studies » World Wildlife

The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$12.95 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Knopf Publishing Group - English 9780307268938 Reviews:
"Staff Pick" by ,

A fascinating attempt to see through the eyes of another creature, John Vaillant's The Tiger is an intelligent and beautifully written blend of history, anthropology, zoology, ecology, and adventure. Compelling and resonant, The Tiger is a rare work of nonfiction that reads as urgently as a good novel.

"Review A Day" by , "Tigers are cunning creatures, and the structure of John Vaillant's The Tiger does their craftiness credit. The subtitle reads 'a true story of vengeance and survival,' words chosen to immediately grab one's attention, aided by the ragged, red claw marks scratched into the cover behind them. But, while visceral thrills abound throughout the book, what Vaillant is attempting proves much more elusive (and ultimately more compelling) than any mere story of bloody attacks." (Read the entire Powells.com review)
"Review" by , "This elegant work of narrative non-fiction has it all — beauty, intrigue, a primeval locale, fully realized characters, and a conflict that speaks to the state of our world....Brilliant....Haunting and enchanting."
"Review" by , "This book must be read by everybody who is interested in the conservation of wildlife."
"Review" by , "Magnificent....To call [it] a page-turner is an understatement. It's riveting."
"Review" by , "The Tiger is the sort of book I very much like and rarely find....A book not only for adventure buffs, but for all of us interested in wildlife habitat preservation."
"Review" by , "A richly textured, compelling story of Nature and Man at odds — and at risk....John Vaillant does as much as any mortal hand or eye to frame the 'fearful symmetry' that burns in Blake's 'forests of the night.'"
"Review" by , "Absolutely superb." George Schaller, Wildlife Conservation Society vice president, and author of National Book Award winner The Serengeti Lion
"Synopsis" by , The hunt for a man-eating tiger across the forbidding landscape of Russia’s Far East.

When Yuri Trush was called in to investigate an attack by a Siberian tiger, what he found was unlike anything he’d ever encountered. Nothing remained of the victim but stumps of bone protruding from his boots. Even more chilling was the evidence that this attack had been carefully orchestrated, as if the tiger was seeking revenge. Before long, the beast struck again, and Trush, leader of a tiger conservation unit, found himself forced to hunt this animal through the brutal cold of a Siberian winter, becoming intimately acquainted with the tiger’s history, motives, and unique method of attack — until their harrowing final encounter.

John Vaillant recreates these astonishing events against the backdrop of Russia’s most remote frontier, a place where the native peoples worship tigers but poachers threaten the species’ survival. He describes the historic collisions between Chinese and Russian settlers (trappers, thieves, deserters, and exiles), and the struggles of their descendants, who, in the chaotic aftermath of perestroika, turn to poaching to survive — in this case with deadly consequences.

A haunting, gripping exploration of predators and prey, and an intimate portrait of a remarkable animal increasingly threatened by interaction with humans.

"Synopsis" by , A haunting, gripping exploration of predators and prey, and an intimate portrait of a remarkable animal increasingly threatened by interaction with humans, this work recreates the hunt for a man-eating tiger across the forbidding landscape of Russia's Far East.
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