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The Tiger – A True Story of Vengeance and Survival

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The hunt for a man-eating tiger across the forbidding landscape of Russia’s Far East.

When Yuri Trush was called in to investigate an attack by a Siberian tiger, what he found was unlike anything he’d ever encountered. Nothing remained of the victim but stumps of bone protruding from his boots. Even more chilling was the evidence that this attack had been carefully orchestrated, as if the tiger was seeking revenge. Before long, the beast struck again, and Trush, leader of a tiger conservation unit, found himself forced to hunt this animal through the brutal cold of a Siberian winter, becoming intimately acquainted with the tiger’s history, motives, and unique method of attack—until their harrowing final encounter.

John Vaillant recreates these astonishing events against the backdrop of Russia’s most remote frontier, a place where the native peoples worship tigers but poachers threaten the species’ survival. He describes the historic collisions between Chinese and Russian settlers (trappers, thieves, deserters, and exiles), and the struggles of their descendants, who, in the chaotic aftermath of perestroika, turn to poaching to survive—in this case with deadly consequences.

A haunting, gripping exploration of predators and prey, and an intimate portrait of a remarkable animal increasingly threatened by interaction with humans.

(– Courtesy of GoodReads)

This unforgettable book is essential reading for everyone who cares about the fate of our world habitat.

Why?  Tigers are a powerful indicator species (pun intended) — as an apex predator, their presence in an environment signifies the health of the land, water, cover and game required to support a keystone species. Their perseverance in an area means the ecosystem is intact enough to support the demands of this voracious beast. Consider the tiger an enormous canary in the biological coal mine.  To learn more about the Siberian (Amur) tiger, click here.

Siberian (Amur) tiger, courtesy of National Geographic

As an author, John Vaillant seems as comfortable when describing the unique flora, fauna and social anthropology of eastern Russia’s taiga as when relating a cohesive and relevant political history of the region. I was so inspired by the people and events in The Tiger, that I spent several weeks reviewing 20th century Soviet and Russian history to better appreciate the book.  That what I’ve read moved me to study history is high kudos, as I generally don’t care for the stuff.

While the preservation of the Amur tiger is a complicated and demanding aim, you can do your part by reading this book. Learning about the history and people of eastern Russia as well as the fate of it’s tiger is a simple step that will cascade in ways that will surprise you by the time you put this book down.


Written by morethangray

November 12, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Posted in books

Tagged with , , ,

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