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

The Tiger by John Vaillant
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May 08, 12

it was amazing
Read in January, 2009

William Blake was not just writing about a Tiger and a Lamb when he penned the poem, "Tiger, Tiger, burning bright"; so, too John Vaillant when he wrote The Tiger. This book's title would lead you to believe that the subject is the tracking of a Primorye amur, but the author reveals a lot more. In exploring the mystery of why this apex predator attacking a human in the Bikin Valley, but in so doing the reader follows the trail of enigmas like how mother Russia transitioned to a post Perestroika economy, the existentialist question of whether a tiger can think/analyze/plot/create a strategy.

The Tiger does follow Melville's template of paragraphs of plot interspersed with biological, evolutionary and other scientific facts about the target beast. Yes, the author may have delved too much into the histories of some of the denizens of this western Russian province, but the same broad brush sweeps the reader d for into the knowledge that the brand name Viagra derives from the Sanskrit word for tiger.

Vaillant does a yeoman job of making a case of preserving these magnificent creatures and points the gun back at mankind when he quotes a local sage who says "For tigers to exist, we have to want them to exist.". He also notes that if this was a book about a "pig or a moose (or even a person)", no one would read it. Fortunately, this is an all encompassing story about this attractive animal and the lessons learned go well beyond the jungle. A great read.
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