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American Man-Killers: True Stories of a Dangerous Wilderness Hardcover – June 10, 1997

3.9 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

Most people think of nature and wilderness as a place where animals and humans can play and peacefully co-exist. Yet as the end of the twentieth century draws nearer, it turns out animals and people do not live at peace as often as the television shows would have us believe. Dozens of times each year people are attacked and not infrequently killed by cougars, bears, and a sundry of other aggressive critters (dogs, birds, crocs, alligators and even deer). Don Zaidle has done a masterful job of describing and analyzing what happened and why. His prose is hair-raising in its suspense and candor. All stories in his book are based on actual encounters, which makes the book all the more chilling and worthwhile. After reading this, you will take a whole new look at Mother Nature, and you may never look at any wild animal in the same way again!
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 250 pages
  • Publisher: Safari Press; 2nd ed. edition (June 10, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157157056X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1571570567
  • Product Dimensions: 6.6 x 1 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,903,623 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
If you are looking for a taste of reality (pun intended), then this is the book for you. Go into the aspect of nature that is not portrayed by some so called animal documentaries and animal hugging cute movies. As a hunter, I am well aware of the reality of cause and effect. I am also aware that people don't like to look at what they would call the gory side of nature. Yes, more often than not papa bear eats baby bear; and in some cases papa bear eats Mr. Smith who lives down the street. Don does a good job of revealing this fact by documented accounts. These accounts are chilling, gory, and suspenseful. He also throws in some humor throughout this book. The book is not for the faint of heart. But in a country where a lot of people have lost their touch with nature, I feel it is mandatory reading. Yes mother nature is beautiful. But she can also be cruel, incompassionate, and down-right mean.
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Format: Hardcover
I can't accuse Mr. Zaidle of sensationalism. What could be more sensational than the subject matter itself? I've read many books of this genre, and Mr. Zaidle's humorous writing style definitely takes the edge off of some pretty gruesome stuff. I read this type of book to educate myself because I,personally, enjoy surviving. I've seen people in my town shove their young child toward antlered deer with an apple in their hand. I've seen toddlers and Rottweilers playing in the same yard. What people don't know can hurt them,and their loved ones. What people, like these unenlightened parents, could learn from this book could save them a lot of grief. No, not all animals are killers,but, they can be. If you put a bicycle helmet on your kid, there are other precautions you could take as well. Enjoyable book to read. I highly recommend it!
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By Woody on January 7, 2014
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I wasn't impressed with this book, but if you are a collector of this type then it's probably a necessary addition. He loves to throw ten dollar words into ten cent sentences which I found a bit distracting, but that aside it's not a bad book. His opinions in general are interesting, sometimes amusing, but some of his conclusions are a real stretch. By the last chapter he was really stretching for material. He just died at a very early age in October so no rocks from me, God bless his family.
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Format: Hardcover
Zaidle is on the right track in disabusing people of Disney notions, but he goes too far the other way, and reinforces some other Hollywood notions about blood-thirsty beasts. I've walked right next to wild moose dozens of times, and have run smack into bear on the trail more than once. Trust me, it is FAR, FAR more dangerous to drive down the Seward Highway or up the Parks Highway to get to your trailhead than it is to hike on that trial.
Zaidle would have you believe the bear, moose, dear, etc. all "want your blood" (not to mention cats, dogs, salmon, trout, sea bass, herring etc). In fact, most bear are scared of to death of people (only the two-year olds and garbage bears aren't), and the moose just don't give a damn about you.
From time to time a bear will attack a hunter after a botched shot, or while the hunter is cleaning his game. Sometimes they'll try to break into a cabin to get food. But these attacks are rare, and the vast majority of the time the bear looses. Most of the on-trail attacks involve sows with cubs, and these can usually be avoided if you know how to behave.
Unlike some tigers, bear do not target people for food. If an adult grizzly *really* targeted you for its next meal, it would stalk you and nail you from cover. You'd never see it coming. This is an animal that can weigh a thousand pounds and still run faster than Jesse Owens. It would hit you hard enough to snap your spine like a twig. This never happens, at least I've never heard of it. Even children survive most bear attacks. It's more likely you have something the bear wants, or that the bear is protecting something from you, like a moose kill or cubs. Sometimes the bear is just tossing you around for fun.
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Format: Hardcover
_American Man-Killers_ by Don Zaidle is a `must read' for two types of people: those who have spent some time wandering among the creatures of woods and forest, and those who haven't.

This isn't just another `outdoorsy' book written by some crusty ol' Texan -- this is a crusty ol' Texan sharing the benefit of his research, documentation and personal experience in an attempt to impart some understanding of things in the wild that often make no sense. Zaidle's tone is one of "I'm doing you a favor here, so pay attention." That tone is unquestionably justified as he takes us from serene settings of outdoor bliss to the gore of what can (and does!) happen to good people who find themselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. And sometimes, he points out, your own back yard is the wrong place -- and anytime can be the wrong time.

From the Dedication ("To the victims. . .") to the last sentence, AMK will keep you spellbound with incident after incident highlighting Mother Nature's most unsavory secret -- that she has spawned several beasts with total disdain for human life. More disturbing still, their favorite prey seems to be children. Make a note that `beasts' includes Fido and Tabby, for there are several passages devoted to `domesticated animals', though Zaidle makes it clear he's unconvinced such animals exist in any context you may find comforting.

Interspersed with stories of carnage (you'll want to read this book before deciding if its appropriate for your kid to use for a school report) are tips and hints from everything about how to hunt to how to prevent being hunted and what to do should you find yourself in that wrong place. There is also humor.
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