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the tiger: a true story of vengeance and survival

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  6,939 Ratings  ·  1,190 Reviews
In a remote part of the fast disappearing Siberian forest an inexperienced poacher triggers a series of tragic events as a tiger turns man-eater. Part gripping detective story played out on a wild exotic stage and part ecological parable, The Tiger is a true life murder mystery, written in snow...

It's December 1997, and a man-eating tiger is on the prowl outside a remote v
Paperback, 306 pages
Published 2010 by Sceptre
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Gordon The wild kiwi is really the actinidia berry, known locally as wild kiwi or kishmish. Perhaps you should do a little research before you accuse fine…moreThe wild kiwi is really the actinidia berry, known locally as wild kiwi or kishmish. Perhaps you should do a little research before you accuse fine authors of fabrication.(less)
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Dan Schwent
A tiger goes man-eater and terrorizes a remote Siberian village. Can Yuri Trush and his men end the tiger's bloody reign of terror or join its long list of victims?

It sounds like the teaser for a trashy thriller but this story really happened. The Tiger is the story of a rogue tiger and it's man-eating ways.

My description of The Tiger makes it sound like the book is one long tiger hunt but it's so much more than that. The tiger hunt piece is almost an adventure yarn but for me, the best parts o
Will Byrnes
May 15, 2014 Will Byrnes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, nature
Fearful symmetry indeed. In 1997, during time when the Soviet system had collapsed but nothing much had arisen to take its place, Vladimir Markov, desperate to provide for his family, made a very large mistake. In easternmost boreal Russia, he came across the remains of a huge wild boar and made off with it. Big mistake. The big pig was the prize of a local striped feline, and it took exception, a lot of exception. The region is a tough one and stealing anyone’s hard won resources is a big exist ...more
Apr 23, 2011 Laura rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Let's start with the moral of the story first: Do not fuck with an Amur tiger. Because if you do, she'll probably hunt you down, break into your cabin, drag your mattress across a frozen river, and lie down on it while she waits for you to come home so she can eat you. Literally eat you.

John Vaillant's narrative about Amur tigers and the people who live with them in the remote village of Sobolonye, Russia is compelling enough that you'll start looking suspiciously at your cat by the time you're
Jason Koivu
Nov 12, 2012 Jason Koivu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Like the beast this book is about, The Tiger is patient. It stalks ahead with care and diligence as it learns about its prey, and each step forward the tension builds until the target is reached and then it pounces with devastating fury.

The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival by John Vaillant sounds like over-the-top macho stuff that should be avoided. Thankfully it is not. Instead it's a study of sociology, zoology, botany, history, geography, and the socio-economic climate of the far
Jun 01, 2016 Lauren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Lauren by: NPR
It's one of those books that you get so absorbed in and you learn all of these interesting facts that you want to share with people... for instance (I just have to share!) tigers are known for their virility and their strength - and the Sanskrit word for tiger *vyagghra* was Anglicized into "viagra" for the well-known impotency medication. Interesting, right? Well, there's more to learn inside this book!

The author tries to accomplish a lot in this book, and by and large, he succeeds. At the core
In 1997, a tiger killed and ate a man in the far reaches of Russia's Siberia region. It did so in a methodical manner, unlike anything the people there had seen before. Soon, the tiger struck again, terrorizing a small village and then attacking another man and eating him. This was possibly not the tiger's first go around with eating humans. Determined to be a threat, the government's Inspection Tiger task force was given the responsibility to investigate and stop this tiger once and for all.

Having heard of this book on NPR, I wanted to like it, the story of a man-eating tiger that hunts the hunters hunting it. The actual story could be told in 1/2 a cd; the other 9 1/2 CDs are filled with other stories. It is an ADD romp through the authors brain. If you want a geography work that goes down many, many tangential connections to the main story, this book will interest you. It is filled with many fascinating stories loosely connected to the main yarn. I got the book the b/c I was inte ...more
Mar 17, 2015 Trish rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Tiger by John Vaillant is more than a description of a hunt for a man-eating Amur tiger in a mountainous sliver of southeastern Russia that borders China, Korea, and Japan. In this book, Vaillant gives us the socio-political and environmental context of the tiger hunt, and introduces us to the lives of the men who did not survive the tiger and of those who finally chase the tiger down. The place where the tiger lived is memorably described as a mixture of “the backwoods claustrophobia of App ...more
Oct 11, 2010 Chris rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reporting, science, cats
My mother tells a true story about her mother and a cat. My grandmother had accidently stepped on the cat. The cat took umbrage. The cat hidden, waited, and then attacked my grandmother's feet.

House cats know about revenge and vengeance.

House cats wish they were as big as tigers. (At least my cats do, or seem to, when there are three dogs, not just the one dog, in the house).

Second bit of true infromation. Tigers are missing what is the tiger version of the collarbone. This allows them to jump r
At its simplest, this is a tale of a tiger and two men. A Siberian tiger, huge, terrifying, beautiful, awe-inspiring. The two men: Vladimir Markov, an unemployed logger turned poacher, and Yuri Trush, a game warden whose job it is to catch poachers. They live within the tiger's range, the taiga or circumpolar boreal forest of the Russian Far East, which has been hard hit by perostroika (the locals refer to it as "katastroika"), a sort of post-industrial society in which the human inhabitants eke ...more
Jun 06, 2011 L rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Every once in a while I crave one of these true-adventure/true-story tales. This one grabs you by the throat in the first page and does not let up. Talk about a skill with language, an ability to evoke--this is an amazingly written book, fantastic! And its about tigers, and politics, and people, and the environment they share. The environment is just incredible--sub-Arctic meets sub-tropics! Hurricanes and blizzards.

Vaillant weaves together culture, politics, history, and more to tell us of the
Sep 29, 2014 Heather rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, own
I had mixed feelings on this one.

I absolutely loved learning about the Amur tiger. Such an incredible creature: beautiful, powerful, intelligent, and terrifying. Certainly an animal that demands respect. It was amazing to hear what life is like for the people who live there amongst them. I can’t even begin to imagine sharing a habitat with tigers! Wow. I also really enjoyed all the bits of history on Russia and its culture. Those parts were truly interesting and I learned so much while reading
Nov 24, 2012 Mike rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mike by:
The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival has a great piece of advice if you ever find yourself in the wilds… don’t screw with a tiger. (I would have said something stronger but my wife has told me to “clean up” my vocabulary.) This book gets a strong 4.5 to 5 Stars from me. I was hooked on the story from the first page. The drama of a wounded tiger seeking and wreaking vengeance sounds “Hollywood” but Mr. Vaillant shows how this true story is even better than cinematic fiction. The majo ...more
Dec 15, 2015 Ms.pegasus rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: animal lovers, those interested in recent Russian history, and ecology
Recommended to Ms.pegasus by: NPR interview
THE TIGER: A TRUE STORY OF VENGEANCE AND SURVIVAL by John Vaillant is both a gripping adventure with larger than life characters, and a lesson in geography and ecology. The setting is Russia's Maritime Territory, Primorye – a thumb(or claw) of land bounded by the Sea of Japan on the east, and Manchuria and the tip of North Korea on the West. Distinctive features include Vladivostok at the southern most tip, the Amur River which flows the length from Mongolia in the north to the Tartar Strait in ...more
Nov 01, 2010 Tony rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Sigh, yet another popular book of narrative nonfiction that takes what is essentially a topic for a good magazine essay and blows it up to book length with all kinds of digressive excursions into anything remotely relating the main story. Basically, in 1997, a tiger killed a hunter in the Russian Far East, leading to a tiger-hunt. This takes about fifty pages to detail (and I do mean detail), leaving another 250 to be filled with all kinds of material, such as the history of the region (which is ...more
Sep 28, 2010 Emily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2010
"The Tiger" is the kind of nonfiction book that has many layers beyond what the title promises, all of which turn out to be interesting. The top layer of the story is about a Siberian tiger that, in the late 1990s, went berserk in the region of Primorye, a day's travel north of Vladivostok. It killed three people and terrified a town for days before the authorities put it down. The book introduces the tiger, its habitat, and its lifestyle. The next layer is showing what life is like for the inha ...more
Jun 29, 2016 Perry rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The wonders you can find in the giant, bountiful gardens of literature never cease to amaze. One need only look widely enough and take a chance and she might be put in the Siberian taiga (the sometimes swampy coniferous forest of high northern latitudes) in far eastern Russia as the locals encounter a looming Amur tiger (a/k/a Siberian tiger which can grow up to 10 ft. & 660 lbs.), seemingly intent on exacting revenge for being shot and having a
I really enjoyed this story. The author really appears to have done his research into the vast and remote area of the Far East called Siberia. I really feel like he was able to present the people, the culture and the natural habitat of that area in great detail and with a good paced writing style. It's all in the details. I prefer details over the gist of a story and this book is chock full of details. True, the story itself could have been told in probably about half the amount of time however, ...more
John Devlin
Sep 21, 2010 John Devlin rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Back story Hell: back story about Russia, back story about China, back story about China vs Russia, back story about the main character, back story about tigers, back story about man-eating tigers, back story about victims of man eating tigers. I expected something akin to Jaws on Land and got lengthy discourses on the failure of perestroika and how utterly crappy it is to live in villages where the temperature gets to 40below.
Aug 26, 2016 Stacy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Somewhere between 4 and 5 stars.

This is excellent creative nonfiction. Reading about the power that the Amur tigers possess and the various encounters people have had with them left me with goosebumps several times. I loved the magical qualities attributed to the king of the taiga. What a magnificent animal! Also fascinating was the portrait Vaillant paints of the Russian taiga-dwellers involved in this tale: earthy, independent, and hardy with a deep respect for their natural environment. I fo
Christopher Litsinger
After hearing about this on NPR I had added it to my reading list, and seeing it on a best of 2010 list popped it up to the top of the stack. This was an excellent book, I learned a lot about modern Russia, and tigers, and all sorts of fascinating tidbits of information were thrown throughout the book.
At times I felt the pacing was a bit off, I'm not sure if this was due to my own distractedness during a busy week, or if it was the cuts between the main "story" of this book and the little intere
Sep 01, 2015 Petra rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Who doesn't like a good Russian adventure story? This book tells of a wounded Amur tiger who hunts down the poacher who shot him. It's also a tale of a town in the Eastern Siberian part of Russia and the hardships they face everyday. There's history of the persons in the region and the people of the region, ecology, interactions between humans & animals. It's an interesting blend of a microcosm in the Siberian east.
I listened to the audio version and this story made for an interesting listen
Jul 03, 2010 J.R. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure
People are fascinated by monsters, be they human or other animal. If this book were simply about a man-eating tiger and the hunt to stop the beast it would have an attraction for many readers.

But Vaillant’s story goes much deeper.

To be sure, the predations of the tiger and the efforts of his human stalkers are major features of the book and guaranteed to keep the reader biting his fingernails and turning pages to see what happens next.

Beyond that, the story is multi-faceted and totally fascinati
Jan 23, 2011 Terzah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
From 2001 to 2002, I lived in Primorski Krai, in the Russian Far East just 10 kilometers from the border with China, as a Peace Corps volunteer. I taught English and did my best to understand the people in the town and village where I worked, despite arriving in the country with little knowledge of the beautiful, complicated Russian language and an often paralyzing homesickness. A year into what was supposed to be two years of service, the Russian government abruptly decided not to grant my grou ...more
Kater Cheek
Nov 01, 2010 Kater Cheek rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book manages that rare but cherished feat of combining good research with a strong narrative structure. It's nominally about a tiger attack on woodsmen in far eastern Russia in the late nineties, but it's about so much more than that.

First of all, I, like many people, know very little about the Russian Far east, except for that minor flurry between Russia and Japan fighting over an island around that time. I knew even less of the Amur river valley, which borders China and Russia, and appare
This book reads like a murder turning and thought provoking. But it is so much more than that too! This book is filled with animal science, ecology, conservation efforts in Russia after perestroika, geography, psychology, umwelt theory, history and a whole bunch of tigers. In a land farther beyond Siberia, in the Russian Far East, Vaillant tells the true story of a tiger attack on a man in the late 90s. Reconstructing the crime scene, exploring motivations (man and beast) and the ...more
Barbara McVeigh
This true story of a man-eating tiger in the Far East of Russia reads like one of the very best suspense thrillers. I felt sheer terror from the beginning of the book. A man and his dog are returning to their cabin after a day of hunting. Suddenly they realize that something “is there by the cabin. The hackles on the dog’s back and on [the hunter’s] neck rise together. Together, they hear a rumble in the dark that seems to come from everywhere at once.”

John Valliant skilfully delays revealing w
The story of the tiger that stalked a forest in the remotest forests of eastern Russia, killing hunters and terrorizing a community, is amazing enough -- but John Vaillant's combination of reportage, historical background, and meditation about the relationship between man and nature is, at its best, reminiscent of the nature writing of John McPhee, which is to say it's a real treat to read, constantly offering up amazing and/or unsettling revelations about its subject. The things you learn about ...more
Jun 15, 2015 Donna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
Disappointing! The jacket blip sounded so promising....a true story about a man-eating tiger, hunting the hunter and in so doing, shows up on the MOST WANTED TIGER list. This blip is a bait-and-switch. This book starts out being about exactly that. But less than 10% in you get nothing but history, geography and assorted short stories. It wasn't interesting, not even in a wikipedia way. Just conjure up your most boring high school teacher.

Eventually, the tiger part of the story picks back up but
Terry Brooks
Dec 24, 2010 Terry Brooks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This month I am going with a book called The Tiger by John Vaillant. The Tiger is one of those books you find yourself thinking about weeks after you've finished it. The story revolves around the hunt for a Siberian Tiger that has killed two men in one of the bleakest, most remote parts of Russia, a place even further removed from civilization than Siberia. What makes the story unusual is that the team hunting the Tiger after the killing of the first man comes to realize that the tiger is chosin ...more
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ELEVEN READER'S CLUB: update 5 1 5 Jan 16, 2013 10:25AM  
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ELEVEN READER'S CLUB: update 2 1 4 Jan 08, 2013 05:44PM  
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John Vaillant is a non-fiction author and journalist who was born in Cambridge, Massachusetts and has lived in Vancouver for the past thirteen years.

John Vaillant is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic, National Geographic, and Outside, among others. His first book, The Golden Spruce (Norton, 2005), was a bestseller and won several awards, including the Gover
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“The one certainty in tiger tracks is: follow them long enough and you will eventually arrive at a tiger, unless the tiger arrives at you first.” 18 likes
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