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Deadly Kingdom: The Book of Dangerous Animals Hardcover – May 18, 2010

4.1 out of 5 stars 11 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Did he say repugnatorial gland? What a wealth of information Gordon Grice is, and what a fine, beguiling writer. This book is a must for anyone even remotely thinking of getting a monkey, a sea lion, or, heaven forbid, a dog.” – David Sedaris
 
“A wonderful, slightly terrifying, utterly captivating encounter with the animal world—not quite like anything I’ve ever read before.”—Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love and Committed
 
Deadly Kingdom is an engagingly original field guide to the venomous, the sharp-clawed, the infectious, and the downright predatory. It’s a witty, fascinating, and playfully macabre read.” – David Baron, author of The Beast in the Garden
 
Deadly Kingdom  is sometimes gory, always gorgeous, and really great.  Gordon Grice is a warm and funny guide, his fingers always on the facts.  There are amazing stories here, fascinating people and places, but above all, there are the animals we thought we knew, and the ones we’ve never heard of: hagfish, guinea worms, eyelash vipers, blister beetles.  You’ll never go barefoot in the barnyard again.” – Bill Roorbach, author of Temple Stream: A Rural Odyssey
 
Deadly Kingdom makes it clear that you are not on top of the food chain.” – Pamela Nagami, M.D., author of Bitten: True Medical Stories of Bites and Stings

About the Author

Gordon Grice has written for The New Yorker, Harper’s, Discover, Granta, and other magazines. His first book, The Red Hourglass, was named one of the Best Books of the Year by the Los Angeles Times and the New York Public Library. His work has been anthologized in The Best American Essays. He lives with his family in Wisconsin.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: The Dial Press; 1 edition (May 18, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385335628
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385335621
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (11 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #811,995 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dear Reader:

Do you, like me, rejoice in the knowledge that you could eat an adult mouse whole, if you wanted to? As Gordon Grice helpfully notes, in his endlessly entertaining book Deadly Kingdom: The Book of Dangerous Animals, the rodent's bones are "no more troublesome than those of a catfish." In medieval England, he adds, "a mouse on toast was thought to cure colds." This morsel of science fact and historical storytelling is typical of the oddments Grice tosses us, arcana from his Cabinet of Curiosities that invite rumination (in both senses, in this case). Deadly Kingdom rewards the reader who knows that stringing together chains of association is as important as hoarding information.

Grice is best known as the author of The Red Hourglass: Lives of the Predators, a cult classic about black widows, brown recluses, tarantulas, and rattlesnakes, among other things, that launched a new genre: natural-history noir. If Cormac McCarthy turned his hand to nature writing, the results might sound something like Grice, who combines the laconic banter of rural Oklahoma, where he grew up, with a country boy's inexhaustible curiosity about the natural world. He renders his dramas of animal behavior in tight close-up, with an eye for detail that makes the reader feel as if she's lying on her belly, propped on her elbows, chin in hands, peering intensely into the jungle in the lawn. At that scale, insect tableaux become morality plays or, more often, Aesop's fables for existentialists. (In a thumbnail review on Amazon, I called him "a Jean-Henri Fabre for literati with rifle racks.") Grice's style--unsentimental, black-comedic, philosophical in an unselfconscious, back-porch way--heightens that effect.
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Format: Hardcover
If it's called "Deadly Kingdom," you can expect it'll be all about animals and the numerous ways they kill people. It's a grisly but well done book, which breaks animals down into groups from the cats and dogs to the worms and spiders. Full of fascinating little trivia bits (who knew how terrifying hyenas could be?) and worth a read for anyone who likes to learn more about the natural world. The writer doesn't sugarcoat and it can be a bit overpowering to hear of all the nasty ways you can be killed by a shark or a bat or a snake, but it's quite interesting stuff nonetheless.
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Format: Hardcover
This was a very interesting book. I've read quite a few books on dangerous animals and this one was the most thorough. Well worth the read and hard to put down. Highly Recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
This was a fun book to read over a hot summer weekend. Well, fun may not be the word...
In a nut shell, this book, with its well documented stories, attempts to clue us all in to the fact that much
of Nature views us, people that is, as a tasty snack, unencumbered with scales, claws or horns.
Or, if they don't want to eat us, they have no problem biting, stomping, or kicking us into a smeary paste.
In fact, some of the creatures mentioned in this book, leopards, hyenas, lions, have gone out of their way to eat us.
One of the stories that I still can't get out of my head is that in modern day Mumbai, leopards still kill people.
In 2012, 7 people were victims, or presumed victims, of leopards.
The other thing that fascinated me is the people who keep such dangerous beasts as hyenas, 20 foot long pythons,etc.,as pets.
Gordon Grice has a very good writing style. He manages to relate the grisly details without being lurid.
One caveat though.
As I was reading this book on my couch,surrounded by my family, a bug landed on my leg and crawled around.
I was wearing shorts, and reading the chapter about a woman being shredded by her pet hyena.
Needless to say I leaped to my feet, throwing pillows and frantically slashing at the air, my legs, the lamp...it was quite a scene.
Not to mention that my wife and kids were a bit shook up by the "George Costanza" display.
Back to the book. Very well written material that will make you think...and maybe freak out a little if a beetle lands on you.
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Format: Hardcover
Unlike one reviewer, this book is exactly what I was expecting. It is fascinating (to me) to read about animals harming humans in the many ways presented. Some of the cases were familiar to me but most were not. I would have rated it 5 stars except for a few things. The introduction is overly long and rambling as is often the case in other books as well. In the section on "bears" Grice writes that the general idea that man made environmental changes increase animal attacks in some cases comes with impressive evidence. (this passage is not a direct quote but has been abbreviated by me) One of the man made environmental changes he lists is climate change. These days I guess authors of books get an attaboy from publications that review books by bringing up climate change. I don't think there is any good evidence that animal attacks increase because of the smidgen of temeperature increase that has occured over the last century or so and it gets tiring to constantly hear about it. (climate change) Also Grice goes on and on too much about himself and his family throughout the book and it amounts to unwanted fluff, at least to me. In the section on "elephants" he claims there is no truth to the myth that elephants are afraid of mice. I would disagree. The Mythbusters TV show tested that myth and while the elephants didn't panic, they definitely were uncomfortable when a mouse was loose at their feet. If memory sreves me correctly I think they judged the myth to be plausible. Do read the book though, for it is an intertaining read for sure.
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