Jennifer's Reviews > The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival

The Tiger by John Vaillant
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's review
Jan 02, 2011

really liked it
Read in January, 2011

Great, great book about a man-eating tiger in the far eastern portion of Siberia, a very strange little eco system that is artic cold in winter and tropically warm in the summer and which has by far the most species diversity of anywhere in Russia, including the last few hundred Siberian tigers in the wild. They're hunted relentlessly by poachers, due to high demand from nearby China for various folk remedies, and one of them finally goes mad and starts eating people. What's fascinating about this book is how it weaves in so many areas of knowledge -- Russian history, the history of conservation in Russia and elsewhere, the ecology of the region, the nature of its people, folk wisdom about tigers and the really fascinating inner life of this beast who is capable of abstract thought, advanced planning and even revenge against those who have hurt it. (Most of the natives believe that the tigers won't bother you unless you bother them -- stealing their food for instance, or shooting at them or taking their cubs, etc.)

I had no interest, previously, in tigers or anything else that this book covers, but it hooked me in, and I'd highly recommend it to anyone who's looking for a very gripping, very fact-rich, non-fiction read.

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Comments (showing 1-7 of 7) (7 new)

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message 1: by Anne (new) - added it

Anne I'll keep a look out for this one. I really like the narrative non-fiction books that hone in one one very specific subject...

Jennifer It's a really good book, not really narrow at all, but rather using the tiger story as a lens to look at a whole bunch of intersecting issues and ideas. I would never have read it, except that Bill got it for me for Christmas.

message 3: by Justin (new) - added it

Justin Sounds interesting. I'm not sure he'd be your thing, but have you ever heard of Jim Corbett? His stories (the few I've read) are much more focused on the animals and the hunt (he eventually became a major conservation figure), but they're compelling reads.

Jennifer I've heard the name, but never read the books. Maybe I'll look at the library when I run out of Xmas books...though it may not be until July or so.

message 5: by Justin (new) - added it

Justin Yeah, your shelves probably looks like ours do this time of year.

Jennifer Shelves?


message 7: by Justin (new) - added it

Justin Toppling stacks of books, then?

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