Beasts Beyond the Fire by Michael Jenkinson (1980, Hardcover)

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Beasts Beyond the Fire
True Encounters with Man-Killing Denizens of Land and Sea
by Michael Jenkinson
Publisher: E. P. Dutton
Copyright 1980
Book Club Edition

This is a book of vivid, factual accounts of man-killing animals on land and sea and of man's encounters with them.  It explores the domain of fear.  There are discussions of deadly creatures of the ocean, ranging from sharks to sea snakes and bizarre, highly poisonous fish that swim through coral reefs like images from a feverish dream.  Early chapters chronicle shark attacks and explore legends of giant squid pulling men from ships with their tentacles, and sea serpents such as the monster seen in the harbor of Gloucester, Massachusetts, by hundreds of people.

Michael Jenkinson goes on to describe bloody encounters between grizzly bears and mountain men in the American Rockies; the ways of man-eating tigers and leopards in India and of lions in Africa; the dreaded wolf of Gevaudan that ravaged the French countryside in the eighteenth century; the horror of being stalked by a crocodile in the jungles of central Africa.

The book is about killer bees and deadly, crushing coils of the anaconda.  It takes one from the Hopi snake dances of Arizona to fundamentalist rattlesnake sects in Appalachia and to the sacred cobra cults of India.

Here one can read the stories of a man who actually was swallowed by a whale, and lived; of the lumbering hippopotami that when enraged take hundreds of lives in Africa every year; and of the dangerous experiences of the author himself, as well as other outdoorsmen, with giant brown bears in Alaska.

Within a framework of carefully researched zoology, mythology, anthropology, and history, Michael Jenkinson's primary business is storytelling.  This is a volume of adventures on many continents and seas, takes that might be told around a fading campfire after the unexpected snap of a dry branch out there in the darkness.

Condition:  Used.  Hardcover.  Dust cover.  Pages may be tanning and discolored from age.  Previous owner's "Library Of" stamp is on the back endpaper.  Dust cover and dust cover flaps are tanning from age and show a bit of edge wear.

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    • ISBN 0525061770
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