- Paperback: 272 pages
- Publisher: Three Rivers Press; 1st edition (June 16, 1998)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0609800175
- ISBN-13: 978-0609800171
- Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.8 x 9.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 22 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,273,430 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Field Guide to North American Monsters: Everything You Need to Know About Encountering Over 100 Terrifying Creatures in the Wild Paperback – June 16, 1998
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W. Haden Blackman preys on our more eccentric curiosities with his fact-filled Field Guide to North American Monsters. Even the monster-shy will find it hard not to smile when they read sidebars such as "What does bigfoot eat?" (Everything from acorns and honey to tadpoles and salmon.) Seriously and exhaustively researched, this guide covers more than 100 monsters in the following categories: hairy humanoids, lake monsters and sea serpents, flying monsters, dwarves and giants, cryptid animals (animals heretofore unknown to science), beastmen and beastwomen ("humanoids" with numerous animalistic features), supernatural monsters, and the not readily classifiable enigmatic entities such as the bogeymen, phantom felines, and the infamous Mad Gasser of Mattoon.
Gleaned from Native American legends, American folklore, and modern sightings, this is the first-ever collection cataloging the vast expanse of bizarre creatures inhabiting North America. Laid out like a field guide to birds or mammals, the book helps the reader become familiar with each monster through photos (when available), drawings, and each creature's vital statistics: distinguishing features, range and habitat, diet, the source reporting the monster, and a rating of the likelihood of spotting each creature in the wild.
An avid monsterologist, the author offers useful suggestions for pursuing this rare field of study, including advice for how to behave during a monster encounter and a thorough sample questionnaire to use when interviewing monster eyewitnesses. --Kathryn True
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I found the book to be entertaining. The book contains a mixture of information that some cryptologists would consider factual along with the author's own embellishments. It covers most of the monster legends in the U.S. and there were quite a few of them that I was unaware of.
There are many illustrations. Some of them were well done although a few looked like a grade school kid drew them. The book has an abridged bibliography and a glossary although there is no index. It also lists each states in the U.S. and describes which monsters are reported to live there.
If you enjoy reading about American folklore and urban legends then you will probably enjoy this book. If you spend your nights roaming around with a flashlight looking for Chupacabra then this book will probably annoy you.
The book is broken into eight sections as follows:
Hairy Humanoids - where we find Sasquatch and his ilk.
Lake Monsters and Sea Serpents - Ogopogo, Caddy and others.
Flying Monsters - El Chupacabra, Mothman and more.
Dwarves and Giants - The Flatwoods Monster and the Sioux Indian Two Faces, for instance.
Cryptid Animals - Sewer Gators and Radioactive Frogs!
Beastmen and Beastwomen - Goatman and werewolves in general.
Supernatural Monsters - the Mexican La Llorona, the Canadian Wendigo.
Enigmatic Entities - The Bogeyman and The Mad Gasser of Matoon.
Even in the small samples I have referenced above we find representatives from Native American folklore, UFO cases, Urban Legend and cryptozoology. Each entry, given two or three pages and usually accompanied by illustrations or photos, is headed by a "vital statistics" box in which we find information such as the subject's physical dimensions, diet, range and habitat, and behavior. Also included here is a helpful ranking system (using tiny Jersey Devil glyphs as indicators) which illustrates the chances of actually encountering the subject in its native habitat.
I admit that I am not entirely sure how serious Mr. Blackman is with this compendium; the above mentioned Jersey Devil ratings, for example, seem rather tongue in cheek to me. Therefore, I cannot recommend this book to all - I think that Cryptozoologists looking for a serious study will be disappointed and possibly annoyed. Nonetheless, it is a very readable book that, at best, will jump-start the imaginations of those unfamiliar with the field of weirdness that is its subject.