The Tiger: A True Story Of Vengeance And Survival

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The Tiger: A True Story Of Vengeance And Survival

by John Vaillant

Knopf Canada | May 3, 2011 | Trade Paperback

The Tiger: A True Story Of Vengeance And Survival is rated 4.1429 out of 5 by 7.

It''s December 1997 and a man-eating tiger is on the prowl outside a remote village in Russia''s Far East. To the horrified astonishment of a team of hunters, it emerges that the attacks are not random: the tiger is engaged in a vendetta.

Injured and starving, it must be found before it strikes again, and the story becomes a battle for survival between two main characters: Yuri Trush, the lead tracker, and the tiger itself.

Culminating in a showdown deep in the Siberian forest, The Tiger is a haunting, spellbinding tale of a hunt to the death; of man and nature in collision; of the ancient relationship between predators and prey; and an intimate portrait of a remarkable animal and its increasingly threatened world.

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 352 pages, 7.97 × 5.18 × 0.79 in

Published: May 3, 2011

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307397157

ISBN - 13: 9780307397157

Found in: Political Science

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from A True-Life Nature Thriller! One of the best books I've ever read. Amazing journey to Russia's Far East wild frontier in search of a man-eating tiger. The combination of science, nature, history, politics and fascinating locals makes this book a joy to read. Once finished, my respect for the tiger has grown immensely. Fantastic book!
Date published: 2014-09-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Outstanding! Could hardly put down this intensely engaging book once I got into it. It combines comprehensive elements of biology, environmental issues, sociology, and history, with a human drama having many of the characteristics of Melville's "Moby Dick". Well written, edifying, and entertaining read. Difficult to classify: much more than a treatise on the endangered Amur tiger.
Date published: 2014-01-26
Rated 4 out of 5 by from The Tiger "The tiger will see you a hundred times before you see him once." —Taiga hunter In the boreal Siberian forests (the taiga), mighty creatures roam. Siberian tigers, the world's largest cats, rule "Mother Taiga" with mystical, physical power like Russian tsars of old. In a remote area near the end of the Trans-Siberian Railway, a part of the country more geographically tied to China than to Moscow, humans co-exist with these massive creatures in a push-me, pull-you struggle between tiger preservation and human preservation. ". . . strange things happen in the presence of a tiger." John Vaillant's story of The Tiger begins in December of 1997 with Vladimir Markov, one human struggling to preserve himself in post-perestroika Russia. Markov hears ". . . a rumble in the dark that seems to come from everywhere at once," and it is the last sound he hears. His death by tiger brings Yuri Trush and the "Inspection Tiger" team to the area to try to piece together the series of events that lead to the attack. Vaillant's forceful writing illuminates the interwoven threads of the story: the isolation and the poverty of the people, the poaching, the drive to preserve the tigers, the injustice that might have fed the tiger's vengeance, the mysticism, and the hope for the future. He describes in chilling, vivid detail what it feels like to be on the receiving end of a tiger attack, an attack by claws "comparable to the talons on a velociraptor, and "fangs the length of a finger backed up by rows of slicing teeth." He doesn't shy away from the necessary raw telling of the details of death by man-eating tiger: "Even as his friends and neighbours lowered that disturbingly light coffin into the ground, Markov's flesh and blood were driving a hungry, wounded tiger through the forest . . .." "Maybe some sort of bio field exists." "Maybe tigers can feel some connection through the cosmos . . .." —Yuri Trush The Tiger balances respect for the humans involved with respect for the Siberian tiger. Vaillant's thorough investigation into why a tiger would effectively run "a trapline of human beings" unveils empathy for the killer animal and for those killed. Above all, we learn that tigers are smart and that it is a good idea not to get on the wrong side of one. They have been rumoured to sit and wait specifically for a someone who has fired shots at them. Many people believe that the spirit of a tiger will avenge its death, or that tigers can "read people's minds and influence their thoughts." Vaillant did a lot of research for this book, and he spares us none of it. Each new twist in the tale comes with historical and psychological background information to help the reader understand the circumstances and the motivations (both tiger and human) more fully. In some cases, he could have used a lighter hand with the research; I skimmed here and there through ponderous details of Russian history. Overall, this is a compelling book, expertly written, and richly layered with visceral drama and guarded hope. The people of the taiga strive for "The Coexistence Recipe" for survival with a beautiful, powerful, dangerous animal that by one estimate has killed up to a million Asians over the past four hundred years. "Hope dies last." —Russian proverb
Date published: 2012-11-07
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Wasn't quite what I'd expected 3.5 stars The Amur tiger is endangered and the ones that are left are in the Far East of Russia, near the Chinese border. In 1997, a tiger attacked and killed two men, so more men were sent out to hunt and kill that tiger. I think I had a wrong impression of what this book was about, so I ended up being a little bit disappointed. I thought this book was told from the tiger's point of view. Most of the book actually talked about the men - the poachers - who were killed by the tiger, then the last bit of the book was about one of the men who hunted the tiger, a man who usually tried to protect the tigers from the poachers. I found parts of the book slow-going. The most interesting parts of the book for me were about the tiger, and tigers in general. I also quite enjoyed the epilogue, which talked about the issues surrounding the endangered animal, and if and how it might be saved. I would have loved for there to be more focus on tigers, generally, in the book. Still enjoyed it, just a little disappointed that is wasn't what I'd expected and hoped.
Date published: 2012-04-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from A Dense and Informative Read There is a lot of information presented in The Tiger- perhaps too much. Vaillant wants the reader to understand the socio-economic and political background of the people in his story as well as the details of the geographic region of Eastern Russia to paint a clear picture of the actions and possible motives for the events in the book. However, he provides too much information, chopping up what is otherwise a gripping, and compelling tale of a man-eating tiger on the hunt for blood. Just as the story of the tiger hunt would pick up, there would be 3 pages of dense Russian politics and international relations. At times it feels as if you are reading an encyclopedia entry on Russian history. Details are necessary, but not to the degree Vaillant devotes to his research of the topic. The information about tigers is fascinating and better blended into the core story of the tiger hunt. Overall, I liked the book and it was an interesting read, but not sure if it has a wide appeal.
Date published: 2012-01-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Very entertaining and informative This was a very good read and contained more information about tigers, in general, than I thought possible in one book. It was also very descriptive of life in the far east of Russia. The power and intelligence of the Amur tiger was very well portrayed and, while I enjoy living close to grizzly country, I'm happy that it's not tiger country. They are scary! Anyone interested in wildlife, the need for conservation, Russia or areading a good story will, I think, enjoy The Tiger.
Date published: 2011-08-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliantly written non-fiction The Good Stuff * One of the most brilliantly written non-fiction that I have ever read * Factual and Informative without being dry or boring and at the same time fascinating, powerful and intriguing * This is the first piece of non-fiction that I just didn't want to put down, I was totally riveted * The geography is so eloquently explained that you are amazed and interested by it all * Author does a fabulous job of making you truly understand and see the strengths of Trush. You can also see the authors fascination and respect for Trush * The way the author describes the Tiger is almost poetic (But in a good way as you all know of my dislike of most poetry) * Extremely thoroughly researched and impressive Bibliography * Fascinating glimpse into the lives and world of people in the Russian Far East which I am ashamed to say I pretty much knew nothing about * Ok at times I was totally cheering for the Tiger to win, after all we are in their territory, not the other way around -- however you can see mans point of view as well. Really makes you think The Not so Good Stuff * Could have left out some of the detail * Didn't like seeing the pictures of dead Tiger's - I'm a wee bit sensitive that way Favorite Quotes/Passages "One of the many negative effects of perestroika and the reopening of the border between Russia and China has been a surge in tiger poaching. As the economy disintegrated and unemployment spread throughout the 1990's, professional poachers, businessmen , and ordinary citizens alike began taking advantage of the forest's wealth in all its forms." "The Amur tiger, it could be said, takes a Stalinist approach to competition." "The one certainty in tiger tracks is: follow them long enough and you will eventually arrive at a tiger, unless the tiger arrives at you first." What I Learned * The Sanskrit word for tiger *vyagghra* was Anglicized into -- hmm I wonder why * Tigers have fabulous memories and if hurt by a human they will exact revenge (Must remember that when playing with my kitten Oreo, as I am convinced she is part Tiger) * So many other interesting things, I really don't want to spoil it for you -- go buy the book already Who should/shouldn't read * Anyone with an interest in Tigers * There is pretty much something in this for everyone. That being said there are some nasty descriptions that might upset the sensitive reader and there are some pictures of dead tigers 5 Dewey's
Date published: 2011-06-08

– More About This Product –

The Tiger: A True Story Of Vengeance And Survival

by John Vaillant

Format: Trade Paperback

Dimensions: 352 pages, 7.97 × 5.18 × 0.79 in

Published: May 3, 2011

Publisher: Knopf Canada

Language: English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10: 0307397157

ISBN - 13: 9780307397157

Read from the Book

1   There are many people who don’t believe this actually happened. They think it’s some phantasm of my imagination. But it was real. There are the facts. Yuri Anatolievich Trush     Shortly after dark on the afternoon of December 5, 1997, an urgent message was relayed to a man named Yuri Trush at his home in Luchegorsk, a mid-sized mining town in Primorye Territory in Russia’s Far East, not far from the Chinese border. Primorye (Pri- mor- ya) is, among other things, the last stronghold of the Siberian tiger, and the official on the line had some disturbing news: a man had been attacked near Sobolonye, a small logging community located in the deep forest, sixty miles northeast of Luchegorsk. Yuri Trush was the squad leader of an Inspection Tiger unit, one of six in the territory whose purpose was to investigate forest crimes, specifically those involving tigers. Because poachers were often involved, these included tiger attacks. As a result, this situation—whatever it might entail—was now Trush’s problem and, right away, he began preparing for the trip to Sobolonye.     Early the following morning—Saturday—Yuri Trush, along with his squadmates Alexander Gorborukov and Sasha Lazurenko, piled into a surplus army truck and rumbled north. Dressed in insulated fatigues and camouflage, and armed with knives, pistols, and semiautomatic rifles, the Tigers, as these inspectors are sometimes called, looked less li
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Table of Contents

Prologue
 
Part One | Markov |
Part Two | Pochepnya |
Part Three | Trush |
 
Epilogue
 
Acknowledgments
A Note on Translation
Notes
Selected Bibliography




From the Hardcover edition.

From the Publisher

It''s December 1997 and a man-eating tiger is on the prowl outside a remote village in Russia''s Far East. To the horrified astonishment of a team of hunters, it emerges that the attacks are not random: the tiger is engaged in a vendetta.

Injured and starving, it must be found before it strikes again, and the story becomes a battle for survival between two main characters: Yuri Trush, the lead tracker, and the tiger itself.

Culminating in a showdown deep in the Siberian forest, The Tiger is a haunting, spellbinding tale of a hunt to the death; of man and nature in collision; of the ancient relationship between predators and prey; and an intimate portrait of a remarkable animal and its increasingly threatened world.

About the Author

JOHN VAILLANT''s first book was the national bestseller The Golden Spruce, which won the Governor General''s Literary Award for Non-Fiction, as well as several other awards. He has written for The New Yorker, The Atlantic, Outside, National Geographic and The Walrus, among other publications. He lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, with his wife and children.




From the Hardcover edition.

Editorial Reviews

"A provocative and comprehensive examination of the plight of the wild tiger.... Breathtakingly exciting."
--The Vancouver Sun

"Remarkable.... Recounts with power and excitement the true story of a titanic confrontation.... A tale of astonishing power and vigour.... Read it and be afraid. Be very afraid."
--The Globe and Mail

"A superb book--hyper-intelligent, wonderfully well-written, with a great cast, both human and animal, and at its heart, [an] amazing and truly chilling story."
--Daily Mail

"A grand addition to the animal-pursuit subgenre.... Few writers have taken such pains to understand their monsters, and few depict them in such arresting prose."
--The New York Times Book Review

"Riveting, full of fascinating details about a land and people that time forgot. And the most compelling character of all may be the suspect tiger himself."
--The Daily Beast

Bookclub Guide

1. The Tiger is a riveting book, with the momentum of a thriller and the depth of insight of an extended philosophical meditation. How does Vaillant create suspense throughout the book? What are the major insights he offers about tigers and the larger issues that come into focus through his investigation of the killing of Vladimir Markov?

2. What historical forces have contributed to the desperate conditions facing the people of the Primorye? How understandable/forgivable is their poaching?

3. Vaillant writes: "What is amazing - and also terrifying about tigers - is their facility for what can only be described as abstract thinking. Very quickly, a tiger can assimilate new information… ascribe it to a source, and even a motive, and react accordingly" [p. 136]. In what ways does the tiger that kills Markov engage in abstract thinking?

4. Does Markov deserve the fate that befalls him? Is it fair to say that he brought on his own death by stealing the tiger''s kill or by shooting at the tiger?

5. What kind of man is Yuri Trush? In what ways is he both fierce and thoughtful, authoritarian and at the same time sensitive to the desperation that makes people of the Primorye break the law? How does his experience with the tiger change him?

6. Vaillant attributes the attitude of entitlement of Russian homesteaders, at least in part, to biblical injunctions: "1: Be fruitful and multiply, and replenish the earth. 2: And the fear of you and the dread of you shall be upon every beast of the earth… 3: Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things" [p. 150]. What are the consequences of this way of viewing our relationship to the earth and other animals?

7. Chapter 18 begins with a epigraph from Moby-Dick. What are the parallels between Trush''s hunt for the tiger and Ahab''s pursuit of the whale and between the behavior of the tiger and that the whale in these stories?

8. After he helps to kill the tiger, native people tell Trush he''s now marked by it, that he now bears, as Vaillant puts it, "some ineffable taint, discernible only to tigers" [p. 290]. When an otherwise tame and placid tiger tries to attack him at a wildlife rehabilitation center, Trush wonders if "some sort of a bio field exists… Maybe tigers can feel some connection through the cosmos, or have some common language. I don''t know. I can''t explain it" [p. 291]. Is this merely a fanciful conjecture, or could it be true that tigers can sense the presence of someone who has killed one of their kind? If true, how would it change our views of animal consciousness?

9. Vaillant suggests that, like captive tigers, most of us "live how and where we do because, at some point in the recent past, we were forced out of our former habitats and ways of living by more aggressive, if not better adapted, humans. Worth asking here is: Where does this trend ultimately lead? Is there a better way to honor the fact that we survived?" [p. 298]. How might these questions be answered?

10. Vaillant argues that "by mass-producing food, energy, material goods, and ourselves, we have attempted to secede from, and override, the natural order" [p. 304]. What are the consequences of this desire to separate ourselves from nature?

11. What makes tigers both so frightening and so fascinating? What mythic value do they have for humans? In what ways are they an important part of the ecosystem?

12. What does the book as a whole suggest about our relationship to nature, particularly to the animals that share the earth with us?

13. It is a precarious time, not just for the Amur tiger, but for all tigers. Poaching and the destruction of tiger habitat pose major challenges to the survival of the species. What would be the significance of the loss of the tiger? What positive steps have been taken to protect it?

14. What changes in human behavior need to happen in order to preserve the (Amur) tiger and similar species? How likely is it that humans will make such changes?

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