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The Great Soul of Siberia
Sooyong Park
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The Great Soul of Siberia

4.47  ·  Rating details ·  218 ratings  ·  40 reviews
Unknown Binding
Published (first published November 10th 2015)
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4.47  · 
Rating details
 ·  218 ratings  ·  40 reviews

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The true king of the jungle is the tiger; lions live out on the savannah. These magnificent creatures have carved a niche for themselves in the humid regions, but the largest and most elusive tiger shuns the warmth of the tropics, preferring icy cold wastelands. This is the Siberian Tiger. It is thought that there are only 350 or so remaining in the wild and so little is known about them and their habits that they are one of the most mysterious big cats.

As the spectre of climate change raises it
Jan 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely ADORED this book! Beautifully and lovingly written this was a deeply moving and touching story. Also a fascinating account of the natural world of tigers and the ussuri region as a whole.

Will hopefully post a full review soon!
Mar 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
We are used to hyperbole in the world of books, but this is a case where words 'passion' and 'obsession' are understatements. For year on end the author has spent Spring through Autumn surveying territories where tigers roam to check on the ecosystem of which they are a part. The remaining six months are spent in solitary confinement in a bunker approximately 2m square, in temperatures which reach -30 C, in the hope of seeing and filming tigers. And the miracle of the book is that it actually ma ...more
Natalie (CuriousReader)
The Great Soul of Siberia is a natural history book written by Sooyong Park, who has studied the Siberian tigers for more than twenty years. Having filmed numerous documentaries of the Siberian tigers, this book follows a few seasons of his research and field observations through a set group of tigers. This book has many things going for it. First, it’s written by someone with infinite direct and personal knowledge of these animals; their nature, their history and their relationships with humans ...more
Apr 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I feel a little blind sided by this book. I have an interest in tigers so I thought I would read just a bit and see how I liked this guy’s research. turns out that “this guy” immersed himself in the study of this nearly extinct tiger. By the time I was interrupted, I’d become captivated by Bloody Mary and her cubs and was terrorized by her destruction of Park’s bunker. I tried to explain the book to my husband but realized I knew too many details that were important and gave up trying to explain ...more
Wow, wow, wow. I absolutely loved this book. It took a few pages to grow on me - the descriptions of Ussuri geography right at the start were a bit of an obstacle as a North American totally unfamiliar with that part of the world - but man, am I glad I persevered!

I don't think there's been a book that's made me feel this way (i.e. thoroughly immersed in an epic adventure story that expands my imagination's horizons regarding what is possible or even knowable) since reading a battered copy of Kon
Heather Macadam
Oct 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
To read this book is to fall in love with three generations of Siberian Tigers, whose cubs we come to care for as deeply as we care for our own children. With the kind of courage these great cats embody, Sooyong Parks endures the loneliness and cold of the Siberian winter in order to reveal the world of these secretive creatures and he delivers them to us with the lyric beauty of a modern-day Thoreau. The Great Soul of Siberia is a remarkable, and heart-rending story written by a poet whose own ...more
Jun 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book about life and death and the tigers of Siberia is stunning. It is a closely observed account of the changing of the seasons in the Ussari forest of Siberia, and the comings and goings of the tigers. Each tiger is a fully realised personality and the tension as they play and hunt and die is immense. The tigers are a marvel, but then so is Sooyong Park, the author. He spends the long Siberian winters living alone in underground bunkers, 2 metres by 2 metres, minimising all traces of hims ...more
Lauren Jenkins
I appreciate learning something completely new from a book, and I have a fondness for interesting books on nature. This was both. I'll have to dig up some more of the author's work on tigers -- apparently, there is much more of it. His beautiful descriptions of the Siberian tiger's environment and his genuine admiration and fondness for the tigers run throughout the book and bring the scenes to life. His unbelievable dedication to researching the tiger's habits, patterns, personalities -it's so ...more
Jun 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was recommended to me by a friend, for which I am extremely grateful as I don't think I would have ever discovered it by myself. It is a sad, immersive account of one of the most beautiful and endangered animals on our planet - the majestic Siberian tiger.

The author, Sooyong Park, is a naturalist and photographer who has spent the last 20 years learning as much about Siberian tigers as he possibly can, with the aim of trying to halt their decline and educate people about these beautifu
Mike Collins
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Sooyong Park creates vivid images in the readers mind as he recounts his time tracking and stalking the elusive Amur tiger. Far from being a run of the mill 'this happened, then that happened' ordeal the writing creates a sense of it happening as you read it off the page. Whether it be a racoon family playing on a trail or the sudden sighting of a tiger resting perfectly still opposite his bunker, Sooyong keeps you hooked. I felt a range of emotions reading this book, it is at times very uplifti ...more
Apr 18, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the best nature books ever written. What an absolutely stunning book. From the moment I picked it up at Waterstones and had a little read I knew I had to get it.
The author has “given up” a significant portion of his life to study Siberian Tigers, though are you really giving up time in your life if you’re clearly immersed in your job. Park’s passion for the Siberian Tiger literally melts through the pages into your soul. His candid way of writing brings you write into the narrative as i
May 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An accurate reportage that lasted a life. I felt overwhelmed by the passion with the author immerged himself in this fantastic journey of knowledge in the world of one of the most beautiful creatures on earth. If you love nature and you love to feel side by side with the reporter facing tigers and almost feel you could reach out for them you'll definitely enjoy this.
Jacquie 🦋
Aug 24, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's candid approach and ability from the first page to engage you and witness through Sooyong's eyes - the fascination of the diversity of tigers. Very interesting and true account. Great train read!!!
Oct 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Beautifully written, poignant and sad this book is a great commentary on the fate of tigers in the wild in our modern era. The fact that Soonyong Park has dedicated his life to these beautiful creatures gives me hope that they will survive. A must read for any nature fans
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Perhaps an issue of translation to English or even just the writers style but I just didn't like how this book was written. I appreciate the writers story and dedication to Tigers but the book in itself wasn't for me.
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good book. Probably the most dedication I've ever heard of when studying a species.
Julie Michaud
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was so engaged in this book.
Sivakumar Anandan
Dec 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
one of the best nature books! Bloody Mary and arsenal of learnings were splendid !
chalet cristal
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely loved this book. Desperately sad in places but beautifully written and the author’s dedication to tigers shines through in every sentence.
Laz Andronis
Oct 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a book! This goes straing in my top 10 books list. Meaningful, well written, just beautiful!
Michael Kott
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nature
Great story, great writing. Full review late.
Peter Housley
Mar 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful book - best of the year so far
Nov 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Great Soul of Siberia is, if nothing, a strenuous exercise in the patience demanded by nature, of which Sooyong Park is an expert. "To wait for a tiger is to wait for yourself" Park writes, presumably in the midst of a six month stakeout from a cramped underground bunker with only mice for company; as a filmmaker, observer and enthusiast, his work in the field seems unparalleled and the choice to share such work and experiences in a book for all to relish and relive is a privilege for those ...more
Sep 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In great soul of Siberia, Sooyong park has woven a tale of nature, the outer reaches of Siberia and the magnificent beasts that dwell there. Not only does he portray these amazing creatures in a way that beautifies them but also lets the reader into the delicateness of the lives they live in a region where man remains a constant threat. It will truly be a shame if we lose these creatures completely and from all the warnings given in this book, we are quite close to that.
Apr 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, nature
A very, very good book. Sooyong Park sacrificed a significant portion of the last two decades to Siberian tigers, sitting for months at a time in tiny 2x2x2 m bunkers hoping for the occasional shot of the elusive creatures. This book has everything you'd expect from such a man: poetic descriptions of the tigers' habitat, high-adrenaline moments of terror when Park is spotted by the tigers, intimate descriptions of the animals relaxing or playing with their cubs when they think no one is watching ...more
Jul 31, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved reading this on my breaks at work or while reading the bus. It felt like I was being led through a forest by an exceptionally calm & curious man who could read nature in all the tracks & traces left by its residents. I found the author to be remarkably considerate of his subject, Siberian tigers, and enjoyed his insistent effort to read the mind of the animal, to look at things from its perspective. It's easy to forget how vision-centric we are compared to other creatures for who ...more
Lizzie (Littlehux) Huxley-Jones
As a child, I used to watch a lot of nature documentaries, particularly one called The Realm of the Russian Bear, which also featured beautiful Siberian tigers. I was obsessed with their grace and beauty, and their power.

The Great Soul of Siberia filled me with the glee I felt as a child, seeing those striped elegant creatures glide through the snow.

Sooyung Park has been studying and following tigers in the Ussuri region of Russia for over 20 years. Not only is this book an ode to the great cats
Aug 21, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"On the sandy beach as clean as the beginning of time, a single line of flower-shaped paw prints appeared..."

There are many things to like about this book: the huge amount of information about Siberian tigers and their behaviour, the beautiful descriptions of the Ussuri forest, Sooyong Park's dedication to his work as well as his deep respect for the natural world and all its inhabitants. But I think what I liked most about this book is that it also shows respect to the reader by following the "
M.L. Sparrow
For more reviews, or to see my favourite quotes from this book, check out my log at

This is a beautifully written, interesting and heartbreaking book. I've always loved wildlife books and this was no exception, though it was so sad to hear about all the trials the tigers have to endure at the hands of man. I liked that there was also information about other wildlife, the forest and the tribes that inhabit it. There were also some beautiful photos. 

I would love
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“Domesticated animals like cats and dogs can look at their human companions’ facial expressions and discern their moods and whether the humans like them or not. The same is true for smart tigers in the wild. Why are those humans here? By coincidence or by design? They figure out human intentions based on behavior, expressions, and the energy radiated by people and take precautions or even attack accordingly. A jay once built a nest in the juniper tree at a temple I used to go to. Out of curiosity one day, a monk at the temple peeked inside and happened to meet the gaze of the jay brooding an egg. The monk felt sorry, as if he’d invaded someone’s privacy by looking into their bedroom. From that day on, the monk purposefully ignored the jay when he passed by the nest. The jay also grew to ignore the presence of the monk coming and going, and it was able to raise its young and leave the nest. In contrast, an azure-winged magpie once built a nest in my friend’s garden. Enchanted by its light blue wings and long tail, my friend looked in on the bird often. Not long after, the magpie gave up the nest and flew away, leaving behind a rotten egg. We” 1 likes
“The Great King drew back his lips to reveal his fangs to me. It was a silent warning not to do anything foolish. The gesture drained the last bit of courage I had in me.” 0 likes
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