The Better to Eat You With: Fear in the Animal Worldby Joel Berger
At dawn on a brutally cold January morning, Joel Berger crouched in the icy grandeur of the Teton Range. It had been three years since wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone after a sixty-year absence, and members of a wolf pack were approaching a herd of elk. To Berger’s utter shock, the elk ignored the wolves as they went in for the kill. The brutal
At dawn on a brutally cold January morning, Joel Berger crouched in the icy grandeur of the Teton Range. It had been three years since wolves were reintroduced to Yellowstone after a sixty-year absence, and members of a wolf pack were approaching a herd of elk. To Berger’s utter shock, the elk ignored the wolves as they went in for the kill. The brutal attack that followed—swift and bloody—led Berger to hypothesize that after only six decades, the elk had forgotten to fear a species that had survived by eating them for hundreds of millennia.
Berger’s fieldwork that frigid day raised important questions that would require years of travel and research to answer: Can naive animals avoid extinction when they encounter reintroduced carnivores? To what extent is fear culturally transmitted? And how can a better understanding of current predator-prey behavior help demystify past extinctions and inform future conservation?
The Better to Eat You With is the chronicle of Berger’s search for answers. From Yellowstone’s elk and wolves to rhinos living with African lions and moose coexisting with tigers and bears in Asia, Berger tracks cultures of fear in animals across continents and climates, engaging readers with a stimulating combination of natural history, personal experience, and conservation. Whether battling bureaucracy in the statehouse or fighting subzero wind chills in the field, Berger puts himself in the middle of the action. The Better to Eat You With invites readers to join him there. The thrilling tales he tells reveal a great deal not only about survival in the animal kingdom but also the process of doing science in foreboding conditions and hostile environments.
Barbara J. King
"Every once in a while, one encounters a book that does not simply drive the scholar to meditation upon diverse philosophical theories, but speaks to her very mode of being-in-the-world, her practice of being human. Every once in a long while, one reads a book that changes how we see the world. This is one of those rare books. As Berger so eloquently phrases his core message, 'the question is not about wild or captive, animal or human. It is about all of us--living beings together in one place, on a single planet.'"—Wendy C. Hamblet, Metapsychology
Wendy C. Hamblet
“How long do the ghosts of monsters linger before their misty essence evaporates? And when the monster itself (wolf, tiger, men) returns with meat hunger, how long before prey rediscover terror? What created the singular fleetness and visual acuity of pronghorn antelope? How necessary are predators and the fear of them in maintaining the resilience of wild places? Joel Berger has written a stirring adventure of wildness, prey naiveté, animal culture, and science.”
- University of Chicago Press
- Publication date:
- Product dimensions:
- 6.40(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)
Meet the Author
Joel Berger is John J. Craighead Professor of Wildlife Conservation at the University of Montana and senior scientist with the Wildlife Conservation Society. He is coauthor of Horn of Darkness and author of Wild Horses of the Great Basin, the latter published by the University of Chicago Press.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews