Say something about yourself!
"Did he who made the Lamb make thee? Tyger Tyger burning bright, in the forests of the night..." [Wm. Blake]
Imagine--the largest species of tigers, the Amur, or Siberian tiger: 700 lbs., with a chest girth of 56 inches, 12 feet long from nose to tail, 4 feet high at the shoulder. The best camouflaged animal in the forest, stalking you, unseen--silently on giant paws hiding retractable claws the size of a velociraptor's. The golden eyes are unblinking and the mounth slightly open revealing teeth that are 5" long and over an inch thick at the base; the jaw has the power of 1200 psi; the tongue is covered with small hook-like projections that can lick the paint off a building--or strip meat from a bone. If you are average, you can run about 11 mph--but you are in knee high snow...the tiger can run 50 mp--in the snow. From a crouch, it was thought the tiger could jump 12 feet high, until at a San Francisco zoo an Amur tiger jumped a 12 1/2 ft. fence, escaping it's enclosure; launched from a run, the tiger can cover a distance of up to 30 feet . The roar of the animal is so loud it is in the *sonic realm* and distorts the neurological pattern. Now, imagine that animal has a memory, a temper, and a grudge against you!
Vaillant has painstakingly combined the legends and facts about this amazing and endangered animal and woven them into both the political history of Russia, and the true story of the fateful expedition. The combination is fascinating and kept me absorbed--even though I wanted more tiger. The amount of research that has gone into compiling this book is mind-boggling, and Valliant has constructed a flawless platform for his closing statements.
..."the side effect of our ravenous success...we are in charge of this tiger's fate--an extraordinary power for one species to wield over another...what will be the results?"
The dwindling Amur are not the stars of this book--it is Valliant's research and presentation...necessary to protect such majestic animals, and guarantee there will always be the Amur tiger.
The name of this book is misleading. It is really about 13 phenomena that we don't understand. Most of the book is science related and some science background will likely improve your appreciation. The topics are quite scientifically varied and covers astrophysics, physics, chemistry, biology, pscyhology. The author does a good job in presenting a balanced description and history of each of the topics. I am a scientist and found much of what was presented as very interesting and new information.
Oddly, my advice would be to read the epiloge first. It is a very good presentation of the wonders of science and why we pursue knowledge and serves as a great reason to care about what is in the book. It is also a good review of the chapaters to come. A few of the interesting chapters include the fact that the cold fusion experiments that were supposedly a bust, are now found to have enough merit to have spurred ongoing research. It also interesting to know that space craft launched into the glaxay decades ago, appear to have inexplicable changes in their flight path. The chapter on the placebo was also very illuminating as it turns our that there may be more to the placebo effect than psychology. Unfortunately, not all the chapters are of equal interest, but I found at least 10 of 13 to be very worthwhile.