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Deadly Kingdom: The Book of Dangerous Animals

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  242 Ratings  ·  52 Reviews
How does a tiny box jellyfish, with no brain and little control over where it goes in the water, manage to kill a full-grown man? What harm have hippos been known to inflict on humans, and why? What makes our closest cousin, the chimpanzee, the most dangerous of all apes to encounter in the wild?

In this elegantly illustrated, often darkly funny compendium of animal predati
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Published May 18th 2010 by The Dial Press (first published January 1st 2010)
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Arun Divakar
Over the course of my reviews, I always come across as someone who loves fairy tales and these stories have a nasty habit. They tend to anthropomorphize animals and this might have in some way led us to believe that animals do harbour emotions very similar to that of human beings. Nothing could be farther from the truth is what the accounts in this book lead us to believe. One can always argue that a pet dog or a cat display emotions close to what a human being cherishes but someone who tries th ...more
May 22, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: morbidly curious weirdoes, sentimental nature-lovers in need of a wake up call
fascinating, and terrifying. i couldn't put it down despite the fact that i spent the night tossing and turning after reading it, my dreams interrupted with images grisly and outsized: me flailing in deep water, about to be eaten by a leopard seal; a baby stolen from a crib by a hyena and devoured. creepy, but then i have always had a bit of a morbid streak, and an attraction to the disgusting that can rival that of any little boy.

that being said, while the book is deeply interesting throughout
Jul 17, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Deadly Kingdom is excellent, well-researched, well-written and full of interesting if frightening facts about animals. The author is not sentimental or sensational,he simply records facts and incidents where animals have maimed or killed people by various means and lets the reader draw his own conclusions. Since many of these animals live in Asia, Africa or other faraway places I did feel a small sense of relief--it is not likely I will encounter a tiger or gorilla on my way home. Other animals ...more
Jake Kerr
What an incredibly disappointing book after the fantastic Red Hourglass, which I gave five stars to. This book is little more than chapter after chapter of descriptions of animals that could attack humans, how they could do so, and how they have done so. It's repetitive and reads like a one dimensional collection of excerpts from encyclopedia entries. Some of the chapters are somewhat interesting, but those are the ones that go deeper and read more like The Red Hourglass--delving into more than ...more
Nov 29, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2010
Grice's first book, The Red Hourglass, is one of my favourites, so I had high hopes for this book -- and I wasn't disappointed. This is an exhaustive recounting of the dangers posed to humans by practically every animal you could think of, including several I would never have imagined were dangerous! (Seriously, I may never interact with animals ever again!) The chapter on primates is particularly horrific. I preferred the smaller scope of The Red Hourglass, which focused on fewer subjects, allo ...more
Mar 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Oh, I loved it! I lingered...
Nick Black
Jul 19, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-nyc
fun, but very little information one isn't probably already aware of.
May 30, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jessica by: David Sedaris/Beauty and the Book
Shelves: non-fiction
I feel like the subtitle on this should be changed to: A Primer for How to Be Killed By An Animal That Normally Wants Nothing to Do With You. (Catchy, right? I'm sure I'll be getting a call to join the publisher's creative team any minute now.)

I'd say easily 70% of the stories in this book involve some asshole human poking, enticing, teasing, getting too close to, baiting, hunting, or otherwise annoying an animal and then being absolutely shocked when that animal decides to pull of their arm or
Chris Buckley
Kind of feel he went out of his way to make this boring. Some good tibits and facts but it gets old quick.
Whew! Let me just say, this non-fiction survey of all the dangers of the animal world waiting out there to bite/suck/trample/rip/nibble/tear and/or live inside your gut is perfect for people who like reading about animal attacks. It covers almost every type of animal, and recounts the most lurid historical cases, if only briefly (the sinking of the Indianapolis! Ramree Island!) with a genuine attempt at factual/non-inflated death tolls.
That being said, if you do not want to hear about an 84-inch
Jan 03, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I have always loved animals, and up until this point, my view of the world around me was pretty stable. Sure, I might have an occasional run-in with my neighbor’s aggressive bull-mastiff, or maybe a deer that happens to wander into my backyard while I’m reading a book, but generally, I’m not too concerned about that.

This book kind of took my sense of general well-being and threw it to the wolves.

It’s so comforting to know that there are so many creatures out there who can, and are more than happ
Dec 26, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book in hopes that it would provide interesting information about animals (including the darker side as the back flap of the cover promised). So far, it has been disappointing in that the book informs the reader of some basic information about the animals before giving three or four examples of how the animal has viciously killed humans. The facts inside the book are the type that any half-educated person with an interest in wildlife would know already. The stories of humans meetin ...more
Mar 21, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I didn't read this in one sitting. It took me a long time to finish it, not because it wasn't interesting, but because of the times I read it. I have like 2 hours between classes, and I would go to the campus library and read this. I never checked it out, it gave me something to do and look forward to between classes.

When I first grabbed it, it was kind of an impulse read. I figured I'd read it a bit, and probably never get back to it. I was wrong. This is an excellent read, for anyone who has
The big thing this book has going for it from the start is that dangerous animals are always fascinating. It's gleefully creepy learning that peoples' limbs have swollen till they exploded after being bitten by some snakes or that one shark attack victim was dragged along for 125 feet.

Grice starts reaching a bit when he lumps in other less deadly creatures, including horses, rabbits and mice, all of which, to be sure have injured or killed humans at one point, but don't really fit in with the co
Feb 29, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a terrible book to read. It has turned me from a generally optimistic soul to one who entertains the possibility of death at every turn...from dogs, cats, zoo animals, wolves, wolverines, cougars, bears, rats, mice, mosquitoes (a particular terror, given the recent warm weather), flies, lice, and other living things.

Grice catalogues the terrible things that the animals on this planet do to humans, and does so clearly and with an infectious wit (noting, for example, that some teen aged b
Savannah T
Deadly creatures from tigers to tapeworms are highlighted in each chapter but there are some critical flaws. First, the amount of personal stories stray away from the main topic and start to distract from the plot. Second, this book would have benefited from a good editor to helped the overall flow of the narrative. Most chapters were fragmented with interesting facts about each species that lacked smooth transition into the next species. There were multiple lists of mauling for each species tha ...more
Kelly Rubish
Feb 13, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In his book, Deadly Kingdom: The Book of Dangerous Animals, Gordon Grice delves into almost every animal imaginable. From insects which kill thousands or more every year by spreading disease, to the only man ever killed by a swordfish, when the fish leaped from the ocean and onto his boat severing his carotid artery in the process. Deadly Kingdom can be read cover to cover, or the reader can choose to pick through the book, which is extremely well organized by animal. Grice has done his research ...more
This is one of those books you read as a guilty pleasure. Remember when you were a kid and couldn't get enough of animal/dinosaur facts? No? Well, maybe it was just me but I devoured any book that taught me about the scary, creepiest, anomalies of the animal world. This is a book like that but for adults. It goes through the whole animal kingdom and explores animal attacks caused by the most dangerous species on the planet along with their strengths or the ways that they kill. It was definitely ...more
Greg T Robertson
May 25, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A solid well written easy to read book on the things that can kill (or maim or generally harm) humans from the animal world. This book had some very fascinating facts in it. Despite seeming overly knowledgeable the author manages to write in a way that is very engaging - my experience is usually that authors who know a lot about a scientific area write very dry. This was a very enjoyable and easy read.
May 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: science-nature
some reviewers said he only dealt with creatures the average person would be familiar with. I don't think this is true, as it is a very broad book. If you already know everything you ever wanted to know about poison sponges, then give it a pass. That said, it is not scientific. If you want a quick surevy if the various ways man can come to sorrow at the paws, funs, teeth, spines of his fellow creatures, this is the book for you
Jul 21, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The content is fascinating, but the writing is terrible. It's fluffy and filled with "probably"s and "possibly"s. It feels like an 8th grade essay lacking support for every facet. I would've liked real scientific facts like the bite strengths of animals. I would love more cited information. It feels like a lot of the material is assumed blindly with no facts besides death counts. I really would like to finish this book, but the writing is so difficult.
Jul 12, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I give it 4 stars not because it was brilliantly written (though it wasn't bad), but because it was full of information that got me so fascinated in pure elementary-school-OMG-sharks-are-awesome(!!!) fashion. If you like nature shows and get nerded out about going to the zoo, you should give this one a read. I enjoyed the heck out of it!
Jessica Russell
Nov 26, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This book was really entertaining! When I was really young I used to read a lot of books about animals, and I got the same feeling of discovery and excitement reading this. I was less enthusiastic about the bug chapter because I really wanted to read about big old carnivores, but I liked this a lot.
Apr 23, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is well-written, but it doesn't go in to much detail because the writer has busied himself with compiling a vast expanse of anecdotes about animal attacks and danger. It is more of a resource to point you in the direction of more detailed accounts, if you're into the sort of thing, which I am. I found myself skimming certain areas, then engrossed in others.
May 04, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gordon Grice is a man after my own heart. I love anything scientific or factual about animals or nature. He's funny, and this book is filled with entertaining tidbits about animals you might have thought less deadly than they really are, and animals you perhaps gave too much credit to in the deadly department.
Jun 03, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
another one from outside magazine....the opening line about caterpillar's being able to bite... seemed bizarre enough to be worth reading.

The book was actually very entertaining. Part history part commentary of the dangerous critters you may run into as you travel about the world. make sure as the critters get smaller you read the book long before you go to bed!


Nov 01, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read_and_review
Grice has a tendency to slip into lists of attacks, which can get kind of dull. The book is well-organized though, which makes it easy to skip anything too horrible. Full disclosure: I did not read about parasitic insects.
Dave Intlekofer
Good book about stories of dangerous animals. Very well researched and seemingly accurate in its stats. I would have liked more stories as opposed to merely a bunch of facts, but it was still very entertaining and informative.
Aug 10, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was fascinating and disturbing. Much like the oft mentioned train wreck, I couldn't stop reading about all the ways I could potentially be killed or maimed by the world's animals. Excellent, excellent non-fiction choice.
Jan 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
If Mr. O'Connell had had this as his textbook, we all would have learned so much's a textbook in novel excellent source of scary information. you will never look at your pet the same way again!
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I try to write beautifully about the darkest aspects of nature--predation, death, and other delights. I love all the faces of nature, but my work is not for the squeamish or the sentimental. My history: I've written articles about wildlife and biology for magazines like The New Yorker, Harper's, and Discover. My books and short pieces have appeared on best-of-the-year lists published by the Los An ...more
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