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Land of the Tiger: A Natural History of the Indian Subcontinent Hardcover – April 1, 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 285 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; English Language edition (April 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520214706
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520214705
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 8.7 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.7 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,872,185 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

In this companion volume to the BBC/PBS television series, Indian biologist Valmik Thapar, a specialist on tigers, takes a leisurely look at the extraordinary animals that inhabit the subcontinent, among them serpent eagles and kiangs, water monitors and one-horned rhinoceroses, cobras and bustards. Although India and the adjoining countries are crowded with humans, and although wildlife-protection laws are a recent development there, animal life continues to thrive; the diversity of flora and fauna, Thapar writes, are the richest in the world. He attributes this uncommon variety of species to religious beliefs that accord the living world an uncommon respect and reverence. Anyone planning a visit to India will benefit from this lively book, as will those who are merely curious.

From Booklist

An excellent introduction to an area that most people know little about, this book accompanies a PBS series to be broadcast in fall 1998. Thapar is an expert on tigers and has authored a number of books on the largest of the big cats. In his dual roles as author of this work and presenter of the PBS series, he introduces the reader/viewer to a region encompassing Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal, and the Indian Ocean. The wide diversity of life in this region is due to the broad variety of climates, from desert to tropical forest and from snowy mountains to ocean islands. India alone boasts 1,200 bird and 340 mammal species. The compelling, thoughtfully illustrated text blends excerpts from the author's field notes with discussions of the spiritual place of animals in the region and quotes from early natural historians. An extensive bibliography will be extremely useful for those who want to explore further and helps recommend this book for all libraries. Nancy Bent

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 25, 1999
Format: Hardcover
This book has some of the best photography I have ever seen. It is an in detail look at the various wildlife of India. From the magnificent tiger to the crocodiles and birds that inhabit the vast natural habitats of this wonderous sub-continent. No one would believe that India was so beautiful. But most of all it takes and in depth look at the one true King of the Asian Jungle- the mighty tiger. And who better to write about them than the tiger guru Valmik Thapar. It is WELL worth the read but get the video first.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Tim F. Martin on June 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
_Land of the Tiger: A Natural History of the Indian Subcontinent_ by Valmik Thapar is a beautiful coffee table type book that I originally bought for its gorgeous full color photos of Indian wildlife and natural landscapes but ended up reading its fairly extensive text (and was glad I did so). Written to accompany a PBS television series (which unfortunately I have not seen), it is a great non-specialist introduction to the wildlife of India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bhutan, Nepal, Tibet, and Bangladesh.

The introduction noted the very rich biodiversity of the subcontinent (2000 fish species, 1200 bird species, and 340 mammal species for instance) and focused on why wildlife has done as well as it has in a region of 1.2 billion people. Despite the growing influx of Western television and consumerism, religion and its respect for many wild animals remains a powerful force, particularly among rural areas and especially among the Hindu population of India and the Buddhist population of Nepal. One particular group, the Jainists, have such a high regard for life that its members are against harming insects and cutting down trees (one Jainist sect, the Bishnoi of the Thar Desert, which Thapar detailed in a later chapter, even celebrate the martyrdom of some if its members years ago in an effort to save a grove of trees). Sacred groves are maintained throughout the subcontinent (which provide vital wildlife habitat), worship of tigers, elephants, monkeys, snakes, and peacocks (which Thapar provided some very interesting details on) have played a large role in their conservation, and many local communities have worked hard to protect local animals from poachers and have tolerated their consumption of some of their crops or livestock so great is their reverence for some species.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 13, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Valmik Thapar, one of the foremost authorities on tigers, proves that he knows more than just tigers. The photographs in this books are breathtaking and unusual. Read about the animals of the subcontinent, and their lore and history. Beautifully made, you won't regret spending money on this. My children and I love it!
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