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 worshipped and lived alongside tigers, even sharing their kills with them. We witness the arrival of Russian settlers in the 19th and early 20th 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 10 feet long, weigh more than 600 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.
©2010 John Vaillant (P)2010 Random House
“Suspenseful and majestically narrated.... Vaillant has written a mighty elegy that leads readers into the lair of the tiger and into the heart of the Kremlin to explain how the Amur tiger went from being worshipped to being poached.” (Publishers Weekly)
“The Tiger is the sort of book I very much like and rarely find.... In addition to tiger lore and scalding adventure, Vaillant shows us Russia’s far east and its inhabitants, their sometimes desperate lives interwoven with the economics of poaching and the politics of wildlife conservation. I was startled to learn about the zapovedniks and Russia’s primary place in global conservation. This is a book not only for adventure buffs, but for all of us interested in wildlife habitat preservation.” (Annie Proulx)
The tiger is almost a bit player in this book that ranges from anthropology to cold war politics to conservation. All those topics are interesting in their own right but do not always work juxtaposed together. This is also one more example why, as a rule, authors should not read their own books. The reading in not bad, but neither is it great. I would have enjoyed it more at half the length and more on point.
This book was so captivating I couldn't stop listening. John Vaillant does an incredible job maintaining an overall story with suspense and anticipation, while weaving in history, culture, biology, and the human experience. I wish I can find more books like this. Narration is perfect, and conveys the emotions expressed in the book. I would recommend this to anyone.
I really enjoyed this book but it would lose me when going into detail about characters and history. It explained allot which I usually like, but I'm not very familiar with Russian/Eastern geography, history or names. Beacuse of this I would get lost with time lines and geography or confused with remembering location or characters names. However the moral and lessons were great and really made me think. Overall it is worth listening to especially if you can easily focused or have a good memory.
I was looking for a good adventure book, saw this tagline, and thought, "Ghost and the Darkness with tiger; that'll do it!" Nope, not what this is. Don't get me wrong, the story of the 1997 maneater on the edge of the Taiga is in there, it's just that you've got to sit through about 6 hours of the recent political history of the USSR, 2 hours of tiger structure/evolution, and a couple hours of environmentalism. At 12 hours for the whole thing, you're not getting a whole lot of tiger adventure here. What there is of it is quite good, but not good enough to wade through the other two (much longer) books the author seems to have wanted to write instead.
Chapter after chapter of introductory material that is not the story itself. All of it doesn't make the story better when it comes. This book needs an abridged version -- as in the first fifteen chapters need to be reduced to two chapters.
maybe my last 'read by author' book. Takes willpower not to be put to sleep. The story itself is interesting, but the narrator sounds self-absorbed and lacks quality.
I feel like the title is somewhat misleading in a sense though I did do little research on the book before I bought it. Though the chapters that focus on the actual tiger draw you in, you are then thrown into a history and economics of the region in the next chapter which to me at least loses interest in the book. To me it seemed like there was a lot of added filler that doesn't really pertain to the title of the book. At certain parts of the book between the actual story of the tiger the author tries to draw ambiguous lines between the governing powers and economics to tigers. Not saying there are not connections but I realize this book seemed to more of an educational read rather than an in depth survival story.
This book started a little slow for me; however, I'm glad I didn't give up on it. I absolutely was amazed by this true story and I couldn't get enough. Definitely my top five book of all time.
The story about a man-eating tiger, and the subsequent hunt for it is quite interesting. However the author spends more time providing background detail concerning the geographic region and both the people and animals who live there than he does on the main story. As a result the book seems to drag out excessively.
The climax and the factual information that followed were quite interesting.
Yes, but I'd grade the audio book a B minus. The story is interesting, as is some of the background information that was provided. However I felt the book would have been far more enjoyable if the author had moved the discussion about the tiger and the hunt for it along at a brisker pace.
The book does make one come away with a new found appreciation for both tigers and our need to both respect and protect them.
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