Beast in the Garden: A Modern Parable of Man and Natureby David Baron
Pub. Date: 01/28/2005
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
"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
"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.
- Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
- Publication date:
- Edition description:
- Sales rank:
- Product dimensions:
- 5.60(w) x 8.30(h) x 0.80(d)
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
See all customer reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
1991. A young man disappears. His body is found two days later, torso bizarrely hollowed out and his organs missing. But it's not the work of a deranged murderer—he was hunted, stalked, killed—and eaten, by a wild animal. A mountain lion. The story backs up to 1987 and builds, layer by layer, a suspenseful tale. Boulder Colorado is a special city—full of outdoorsy, nature loving residents. Deer roam freely. The citizens are almost without exception THRILLED when the mountain lions follow the deer, and begin to wander the city. Two of the VERY few people who are concerned about this are Michael Sanders, a naturalist working for Boulder County Parks and Open Space Department, and Jim Halfpenny, a renowned naturalist, tracker, and author, working at CU's Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research. As the mountain lions become ever more bold, Michael and Jim become increasingly worried. No one will take them seriously—not Animal Control, not the District Wildlife Manager (aka Game Warden) for Boulder nor anyone at the Division of Wildlife, none of the very people that they are trying to protect. The mountain lions become fearless around people. They begin climbing on roofs and jumping into dog pens, dining on dogs and cats with impunity. People trying to protect their pets are met with standoffs and aggressive growling. Even when a woman is stalked and treed by two lions who climb up after her and make a serious attempt on her life, the danger is ignored. Comparisons are made with California and Montana and the fatal cougar attacks there. But no one does anything until 18 year old Scott, a fit, strong, athlete, is killed. In broad daylight, and mere yards from his high school. Killed and eaten, his body covered with twigs and dirt to cache the rest of it for later. So many non-fiction books make the claim that they “read like an adventure story”, and so few of them truly do. This is a rare exception, a jewel of a book. Riveting, horrifying, and entertaining by turns. I have reread this numerous times because even though I know what's going to happen, the writing is so good that I get caught up in it every time!