Beast in the Garden: A Modern Parable of Man and Nature

( 12 )

Overview

"Reads like a crime novel . . . each chapter ends on a cliff-hanging note."—Seattle Times
When residents of Boulder, Colorado, suddenly began to see mountain lions in their backyards, it became clear that the cats had returned after decades of bounty hunting had driven them far from human settlement. In a riveting environmental tale that has received huge national attention, journalist David Baron traces the history of the mountain lion and chronicles one town's tragic effort to coexist with its new neighbors. As...
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The Beast in the Garden: A Modern Parable of Man and Nature

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Overview

"Reads like a crime novel . . . each chapter ends on a cliff-hanging note."—Seattle Times
When residents of Boulder, Colorado, suddenly began to see mountain lions in their backyards, it became clear that the cats had returned after decades of bounty hunting had driven them far from human settlement. In a riveting environmental tale that has received huge national attention, journalist David Baron traces the history of the mountain lion and chronicles one town's tragic effort to coexist with its new neighbors. As thought-provoking as it is harrowing, The Beast in the Garden is a tale of nature corrupted, the clash between civilization and wildness, and the artificiality of the modern American landscape. It is, ultimately, a book about the future of our nation, where suburban sprawl and wildlife-protection laws are pushing people and wild animals into uncomfortable, sometimes deadly proximity.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393326345
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 1/28/2005
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 277
  • Sales rank: 261,668
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

David Baron, an award-winning journalist, reports on science for National Public Radio. He lives in Boston and Boulder.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 12 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(10)

4 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 12 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 27, 2009

    Not Your Friendly Neighborhood Pussycat

    This is a thoroughly documented account of the causes and effects of the cougar problem in the Boulder, Colorado, area that culminated in the grisly death of a high school student in 1991. It is a cautionary tale for people everywhere who live in communities close to any wilderness area. The writing style is journalistic and a bit pedantic, but it is very readable and well worth getting through all the details. If you think cougars are not a potential danger in your residential community abutting the wilderness or on your favorite hiking trail or jogging path, read this book. It is NOT a call to exterminate this beautiful animal. It is instead a realistic look at how to coexist with cougars and other wildlife in a rational, prudent way.

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 18, 2004

    Very well researched account

    Baron did an excellent job of covering the psychology that prevailed in the area prior to the unfortunate death of Scott Lancaster. This psychology exists in many areas of the south west and was responsible for the death of Jeffry Reynolds in Orange County, CA, Jan, 2004 and the attack the next day of Anne Hjelle in the same area. For those interested in the cougar and human interaction issue this is a must read.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 12, 2012

    If the dark figure lurking in your peripheral vision wasn’

    If the dark figure lurking in your peripheral vision wasn’t something to be afraid of before, it is now. David Baron capitalizes on the unknown factor of mountain lion behavior around humans and takes it to the nonfiction sector of the world in his book, The Beast in the Garden. There, he focuses on the case study of Boulder, Colorado where the big cats are playing big roles in shocking the community and the residents are taking a sleepless toll. The once scenic, naturalistic side of Boulder, so marketable as the safest place to interact with nature without the hassle of becoming a hermit in the highest mountaintops, takes a devastating plummet in the views of its citizens. And rightly so, considering that the largest deadly feline in North America begins making ominous appearances in even the most residential locations. A quaint area once prized for its few neighbors, lapses into shock when the original inhabitants show up for the picnic—uninvited. Baron weaves an historical perspective on the resurgence of pumas concolor to suburbia and the deadly effects of political neutrality. After interlacing a tale of wild meets the “Wildes,” Baron suggests a change in our concept of co-inhabitation for better results in the duel of disagreeable neighbors.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2010

    Too Close To Home: Habituating

    I'm buying copies of this book for all of my immediate family in Michigan because I want them to better understand the habits of cougars--because, above all else, I want them to be safe.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 27, 2010

    Habituating

    I'm buying copies of this book for all of my immediate family because I want them to better understand the habits of cougars--because, above all else, I want them to be safe.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2003

    Impressive tale of the inevitable confrontation of man and nature

    I am in the midst of reading this excellent book on the recommendation of my husband who could barely put it down. Interspersed with historical information on the Front Range region and the plight of the mountain lion in the twentieth century, the book has a broad appeal. As a recent newcomer to Boulder County from the East, to me the illusive mountain lion is a novel predator. Signs at most of the trailheads in Boulder warn of the danger of mountain lions, yet not until I started reading The Beast in the Garden did I have a full appreciation for this amazing creature. David Baron weaves an excellent tale of what happens when man and nature collide. Foremost, he emphasizes that there is no easy solution to the complex dilemma of what to do when the wild invades your own backyard. What does humankind do when their own actions have created the threat? This is definitely a book that makes humans consider the ramifications of their actions and the ripple effect that these actions can have on the ecosystem. I'd highly recommend this book to almost any interested reader. Baron is an excellent narrator and one not to be missed if he comes to a book signing near you. He gives an interesting, educational speech and is very knowledgeable and personable. I plan to share this book as an ideal Christmas gift for friends and family!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 18, 2013

    You know, I have to admit. As someone who has a fond appreciatio

    You know, I have to admit. As someone who has a fond appreciation for mountain lions and has worked with them in captivity, I was hesitant to read this at first based off of the title ("beast" always sounds to me like an outdated, unfriendly term for wildlife) and some of the descriptions I read (I was worried the book would take a very negative approach to wildlife in an attempt to scare readers). I, however, was incorrect in my initial judgement! The book is well written, well researched, and the author makes it clear that mountain lions (and other wildlife) and people can coexist so long as we are willing to change a few things in our modern day society. On the contrary to some of the reviews I read, the authors goal is not to frighten his readers but merely to open their eyes to what humans have done to wildlife to make them respond and take advantage of the resources/habitats as they have done today. As a wildlife biology student who is mainly interested in human/wildlife conflict, I really appreciated his view on managing wildlife. Very, very much recommend this nature lovers, zoology/biology/wildlife majors, or anyone who loves to spend time in the outdoors.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 16, 2011

    Review of "The Beast in the Garden"

    The non-fiction story ¿The Beast in the Garden¿, illustrates the struggle and problems between mountain lions and homo-sapians as human life expands into nature and the animals get accustomed to human presence, to a point of danger. The inevitable clash of mother nature and human life ultimantely ends in tragedy, the slaughter of a human at the hands (or paws) of a seemingly completely healthy puma, perfectly capable of hunting its normal prey, deer. This attack was the turning point at which humanoids started to take more drastic measures to eradicate the problem of having lions wandering through human establishments. One of the major themes that ran through the book stated that prior action always prevents disaster, as shown in the negative way by exemplifying how the division of wildlife took no action toward the cougars, and therefore many pets and in the end one human, were killed. One theme of the book was that wilderness has not been wiped out, on the contrary, wildlife is growing, and if humans do not find a way to co-exist, there will be dire consequences. What I personally found very appealing about the book was the extent to which the author covered both sides of the argument, not taking the side of one argument or the other on what should be done about the wildcats throughout the book (leave them or kill them). Also, the author provided details about what each character was doing at the time of a particular incident and what they did in reaction to the incident. What I disliked about the book were some of the backgrounds of the areas in which things were happening; at many times them seemed irrelevant to the story itself. I think that everyone should read this, to get a more accurate idea of what mountain lions really are and how dangerous they have become. I think that people should not read this book if they are queasy¿several descriptions of maulings are quite gruesome, as well as the autopsy¿s that came afterwards. Overall, I would rate this book 4 ½ /5 stars, it was a well put together novel, interesting and informative as well.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 24, 2010

    A great book for hikers and outdoor people.

    Starting with a mysterious death, this book is a history lesson and a crime novel combined. If you are an outdoor person it will change the way you handle yourself in the outdoors. You may find yourself checking over your shoulder a bit more often. A very good read.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2009

    Baron's delusion

    Baron's book Beast in the Garden is an overblown, hysterical reaction to the simple fact that mountain lions live in the Rocky Mountains. Having lived in Boulder, Colorado since 1979 and having born witness to those times that Baron refers to (and the current ones) and also happening to be a mammalian ecologists with some understanding of natural populations, it is clear that Baron's approach is to scare people into reading his book rather than provide a rational discussion of the urban/wildlife corridor that many communities share in the West. Baron blathers on about how all the cougars are hell-bent on coming into town and eating our children. Because I work in the field at night, I have many wildlife encounters, usually alone or with one other person. Fourteen of these encounters have been with cougars, sometimes as close as 6 ft. They are curious for sure. If they had wanted to attack us in the dark, there was nothing stopping them before we were even aware of their presence. Ask Baron how many cougar encounters he has had. I think I know the answer.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 18, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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