Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival; John Vaillant

Title: The Tiger:A True Story of Vengeance and Survival
Author: John Vaillant
Publication Year: 2010
Publisher: Random House
Edition: Audio Book
Reader: (Author)
Source: Library
Date Completed: 1/8/2011
Setting: Siberian Wilderness
Rating: 4/5 stars
Recommend: Yes

The Tiger is a true story of a 500 pound Amur, Siberian, tiger, weighing some 500 pounds which stalked and killed (3) men in 1997. One man was a poor Russian poacher named Vladimir Markov. Markov had been a struggling beekeeper who turned to poaching, because for the profit factor. Tigers body parts were in high in China. It is believed that Markov at one point wounded the tiger, and that this massive beast actually tracked Markov to a shack where he had been staying and attacked, ripping the man to shreds. Another man Yuri Trush, was a lead tracker whose job it was to hunt down poachers. It was Trush who was also put it charge of the investigation of Markov's death.

As the author recreates the events leading up to the attacks, the reader gets an education on many levels: fascinating background on tigers and other animals, and about how they hunt. Also, interesting information about the Russian Far East expansion. The Primorye Region was a fishing, hunting,  logging and mining town between China and the Sea of Japan. I also enjoyed learning about the history of the region dating back to the nineteenth century when Russian settlers, turned to poaching, which resulted in a Siberian tiger population dwindling to only about 400 tigers today.

I wasn't sure that I would enjoy this book when I first heard about it, but that was not the case. The audio book was read by the author who did a great job.  I especially loved the descriptions of the landscape, the cultural, and  personal background of the people involved. I found myself able to visualize this beautiful, remote, and mysterious region. And, of course, all of the background information of the Siberian tigers was fascinating as well --did you know that the tiger has four-inch, razor sharp claws? 

Here is a great video, if interested:

For a more in-depth review of this book, check out Raging Bibliomania; her review is terrific.


  1. Oh, how scary this story is! I do remember also reading Heather's riveting review of this book as well. The mere size of these cats is enough to frighten me.

  2. This sounds like something I would like. I love true stories, especially when they involve survival or wild animals.

  3. I am amazed that the tiger remember the man and tracked him down. Sounds brilliant.

  4. So glad to hear this was a winner for you! I thought this was an excellent book, and it was one of my favorite reads of last year. I am hoping that I can come up with another non-fiction book that compares in the new year!

  5. I am curious about this book. I'm entirely unfamiliar with tiger poaching. I can imagine the pelts are in high demand, but what else? I suppose I'll find out when I read the book!

  6. This was on my radar because of Heather/Zibilee's review ... glad to hear you liked it too.

  7. So it s right what they show in movies - the Tiger does remember and track people down. Very interesting and fascinating even though it sounds horrific.

    Siberian Tigers are beautiful.

  8. My book club is picking books for the year and I had this one in the back of my mind...

    Is it book club worthy? Is there plenty to discuss?

  9. I'm hearing such great things about this book. It certainly sounds like the kind of non-fiction that will appeal to a wide audience--including me!

  10. this one sounds riveting and very scary! That's why I would never put myself in that position to be eaten!! I'm a chicken when it comes to stuff like that!

  11. I would "enjoy" a book such as this that explores the difficulties of animal vs. man relationships.

  12. Aha! This would definitely be an option for a good audiobook - my husband and I want to listen to one that is non-fiction and have been struggling with everything right now (either fiction or non-fiction). This sounds like something right up my alley - I've read reviews of those who read the printed word, but this is the first audiobook review for it that I've read. Sounds excellent.


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