Synopses & Reviews
Part history, part road trip, and part biography, this is the true story of a remarkable group of men whose obsession with Bigfoot turned the giant hominid into an American icon. Award-winning journalist Michael McLeod tells of Bigfoot's rise to tabloid stardom in a fast-paced account that begins with his own journey to investigate a famous 1967 film clip of a Bigfoot in a California forest. McLeod proceeds to uncover a trail of clues reaching from the late nineteenth century, when a few ambitious, imaginative naturalists and explorers synthesized historical and indigenous folklore with Darwinian ideas and speculated that a proto-hominid "missing link" might still be alive in remote areas. That speculation would eventually inspire a colorful cast of loggers, hunters, con artists, and businessmen in the twentieth century to create the modern myth of Bigfoot, all of them angling for a piece of a monster that the media and the public still can't get enough of. Told through vividly narrated interviews and anecdotes, Anatomy of a Beast offers a unique perspective on the deep roots of counterfactual thinking-and how obsession and myth are created out of it.
"Michael McLeod doesn't simply debunk hoaxes; he critically, but sympathetically, explores the motivations that have driven the 'Bigfoot community' to build an enormous and intricate, if ramshackle, edifice of lore. McLeod has written an anatomy of mythology with implications that go beyond the Bigfoot phenomenon. The Bigfoot mythologists' strange, colorful, and sometimes comical, personalities play a big part of this compulsively readable story." David Rains Wallace, author of The Klamath Knot: Explorations of Myth and Evolution
"In the same way that dinosaurs and other exotic beasts from Earth's distant and hazy past inspire and fascinate many of us, Bigfoot has captured the imagination of generations of Americans. Here, Michael McLeod approaches the 'Bigfoot phenomenon' in the same way that a detective would follow leads at a crime scene. The result is a delicious case study of human obsession and the fuzzy border between science and pseudoscience." Chris Beard, author of The Hunt for the Dawn Monkey: Unearthing the Origins of Monkeys, Apes, and Humans
"McLeod approaches Bigfoot culture the way Susan Orlean approached orchids . . . artfully traces our culture's obsession to walking man-beasts." Justin Berton, Kansas City Star
About the Author
Michael McLeod is a writer, producer, and director who has created documentaries for PBS, the PBS series Frontline, the Discovery Channel, and other national venues.