David Baron, an award-winning journalist, reports on science for National Public Radio. He lives in Boston and Boulder.
The Beast in the Garden: A Modern Parable of Man and Natureby David Baron
The true tale of an edenic Rocky Mountain town and what transpired when a predatory species returned to its ancestral home.When, in the late 1980s, residents of Boulder, Colorado, suddenly began to see mountain lions in their yards, it became clear that the cats had repopulated the land after decades of persecution. Here, in a riveting environmental fable that/p>
The true tale of an edenic Rocky Mountain town and what transpired when a predatory species returned to its ancestral home.When, in the late 1980s, residents of Boulder, Colorado, suddenly began to see mountain lions in their yards, it became clear that the cats had repopulated the land after decades of persecution. Here, in a riveting environmental fable that recalls Peter Benchley's thriller Jaws, journalist David Baron traces the history of the mountain lion and chronicles Boulder's effort to coexist with its new neighbors. A parable for our times, The Beast in the Garden is a scientific detective story and a real-life drama, a tragic tale of the struggle between two highly evolved predators: man and beast.
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
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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.
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!
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.
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.