Monster of God: The Man-Eating Predator in the Jungles of History and the Mind

W. W. Norton & Company
9
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"Rich detail and vivid anecdotes of adventure....A treasure trove of exotic fact and hard thinking." —New York Times Book Review

For millennia, lions, tigers, and their man-eating kin have kept our dark, scary forests dark and scary, and their predatory majesty has been the stuff of folklore. But by the year 2150 big predators may only exist on the other side of glass barriers and chain-link fences. Their gradual disappearance is changing the very nature of our existence. We no longer occupy an intermediate position on the food chain; instead we survey it invulnerably from above—so far above that we are in danger of forgetting that we even belong to an ecosystem.

Casting his expert eye over the rapidly diminishing areas of wilderness where predators still reign, the award-winning author of The Song of the Dodo and The Tangled Tree examines the fate of lions in India's Gir forest, of saltwater crocodiles in northern Australia, of brown bears in the mountains of Romania, and of Siberian tigers in the Russian Far East. In the poignant and troublesome ferocity of these embattled creatures, we recognize something primeval deep within us, something in danger of vanishing forever.

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About the author

David Quammen is the author of The Song of the Dodo, among other books. He has been honored with the John Burroughs Medal for nature writing, an Academy Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, an award in the art of the essay from PEN, and (three times) the National Magazine Award. Quammen is also a contributing writer for National Geographic. He lives in Bozeman, Montana.

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Additional Information

Publisher
W. W. Norton & Company
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Published on
Sep 17, 2004
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Pages
528
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ISBN
9780393076301
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Language
English
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Genres
Nature / Animals / Wildlife
Nature / Ecosystems & Habitats / Wilderness
Nature / Endangered Species
Nature / Environmental Conservation & Protection
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Yet social and political pressures frequently pit species conservation against economic progress and prosperity, and scientists fear that we may be in the midst of a mass extinction event. Brian R. Chapman and William I. Lutterschmidt make the case that the effort to preserve animals is the responsibility of every Texan and that biodiversity contributes enormous economic value to the citizens of Texas.  

Texans on the Brink brings together experts on eighty-eight endangered and threatened animal species of Texas and includes brief descriptions of the processes that state and federal agencies employ to list and protect designated species. Species accounts include a description of the species accompanied by a photograph, an easy-to-read account of the biology and ecology of the species, and a description of efforts underway to preserve the species and its required habitat. Sobering examples of species that were once part of the Texas fauna but are now extinct or extirpated are also given to further demonstrate just how vulnerable biodiversity can be.

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Endangered Species: A Reference Handbook begins with an introduction that addresses major threats and extinctions in history, discusses the geographical and cultural contexts in which these incidents happened, highlights other key moments along the endangered species timeline, and clearly shows why the topic of endangered species matters. The following sections examine an unbiased synthesis of classic and contemporary studies that inform the issue of endangered species and outline the most controversial events related to endangered species and the actions that have been taken to address them. The book also presents perspective essays by scholars, activists, and other experts to provide diverse informed opinions on the issue of endangered species and includes a data and documents chapter that applies research finding to provide answers to questions like what species are most likely to become endangered in the future and which practices have historically been the most effective at protecting vulnerable species.

From the host of the Travel Channel’s “The Wild Within.”

A hunt for the American buffalo—an adventurous, fascinating examination of an animal that has haunted the American imagination.
 
In 2005, Steven Rinella won a lottery permit to hunt for a wild buffalo, or American bison, in the Alaskan wilderness. Despite the odds—there’s only a 2 percent chance of drawing the permit, and fewer than 20 percent of those hunters are successful—Rinella managed to kill a buffalo on a snow-covered mountainside and then raft the meat back to civilization while being trailed by grizzly bears and suffering from hypothermia. Throughout these adventures, Rinella found himself contemplating his own place among the 14,000 years’ worth of buffalo hunters in North America, as well as the buffalo’s place in the American experience. At the time of the Revolutionary War, North America was home to approximately 40 million buffalo, the largest herd of big mammals on the planet, but by the mid-1890s only a few hundred remained. Now that the buffalo is on the verge of a dramatic ecological recovery across the West, Americans are faced with the challenge of how, and if, we can dare to share our land with a beast that is the embodiment of the American wilderness.

American Buffalo is a narrative tale of Rinella’s hunt. But beyond that, it is the story of the many ways in which the buffalo has shaped our national identity. Rinella takes us across the continent in search of the buffalo’s past, present, and future: to the Bering Land Bridge, where scientists search for buffalo bones amid artifacts of the New World’s earliest human inhabitants; to buffalo jumps where Native Americans once ran buffalo over cliffs by the thousands; to the Detroit Carbon works, a “bone charcoal” plant that made fortunes in the late 1800s by turning millions of tons of buffalo bones into bone meal, black dye, and fine china; and even to an abattoir turned fashion mecca in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, where a depressed buffalo named Black Diamond met his fate after serving as the model for the American nickel.

 Rinella’s erudition and exuberance, combined with his gift for storytelling, make him the perfect guide for a book that combines outdoor adventure with a quirky blend of facts and observations about history, biology, and the natural world. Both a captivating narrative and a book of environmental and historical significance, American Buffalo tells us as much about ourselves as Americans as it does about the creature who perhaps best of all embodies the American ethos.
It’s December 1997, and a man-eating tiger is on the prowl outside a remote village in Russia’s Far East. The tiger isn’t just killing people, it’s annihilating them, and a team of men and their dogs must hunt it on foot through the forest in the brutal cold. As the trackers sift through the gruesome remains of the victims, they discover that these attacks aren’t random: the tiger is apparently engaged in a vendetta. Injured, starving, and extremely dangerous, the tiger must be found before it strikes again.

As he re-creates these extraordinary events, John Vaillant gives us an unforgettable portrait of this spectacularly beautiful and mysterious region. We meet the native tribes who for centuries have worshipped and lived alongside tigers, even sharing their kills with them. We witness the arrival of Russian settlers in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, soldiers and hunters who greatly diminished the tiger populations. And we come to know their descendants, who, crushed by poverty, have turned to poaching and further upset the natural balance of the region.

This ancient, tenuous relationship between man and predator is at the very heart of this remarkable book. Throughout we encounter surprising theories of how humans and tigers may have evolved to coexist, how we may have developed as scavengers rather than hunters, and how early Homo sapiens may have fit seamlessly into the tiger’s ecosystem. Above all, we come to understand the endangered Siberian tiger, a highly intelligent super-predator that can grow to ten feet long, weigh more than six hundred pounds, and range daily over vast territories of forest and mountain.

Beautifully written and deeply informative, The Tiger circles around three main characters: Vladimir Markov, a poacher killed by the tiger; Yuri Trush, the lead tracker; and the tiger himself. It is an absolutely gripping tale of man and nature that leads inexorably to a final showdown in a clearing deep in the taiga.
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