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Check It Out: The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival by John Vaillant

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This is Michael Maxwell with the Sioux City Public Library and you’re listening to Check It Out.

Today, I am recommending The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival by John Vaillant - a narrative nonfiction blend of nature writing and true crime that will appeal to readers who enjoy either genre.

The Amur tiger, also known as the Siberian tiger, is the largest cat in the world. These tigers once reigned over a large domain stretching from Russia to Korea but now are only found where Russia brushes up against China on its far Eastern coast. The people who live in this tiger kingdom are as hardy as you would expect- often carving out a living by scavenging for pine nuts or poaching wild game in freezing cold temperatures that make a Sioux City winter sound balmy by comparison.

Tiger attacks are a fact of life in this inhospitable cauldron, and The Tiger follows in an especially gruesome case- prompting readers to question whether this particular Amur tiger was out for revenge. What happens when a beast large enough and strong enough to tear apart an outhouse has its mind set on hunting humans, and what could bring an animal to this level of aggression? What is the nature of our relationship with these giant cats, and how has this relationship evolved over time? The Tiger perfectly blends an ecological history of tigers and a social history of life in Siberia with writing that is reminiscent of Ernest Hemingway’s stories about the hunt. This book would be a great next read for those who enjoyed Mary Roach’s newest book, Fuzz: When Nature Breaks the Law which will be featured on a upcoming episode of our podcast, The First Fifty Pages

Check out The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival by John Vaillant and more books about what happens when humans and animals collide at the Sioux City Public Library.

Support for Check It Out on Siouxland Public Media comes from Avery Brothers.

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