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Man-Eaters of Kumaon (1944)

by Jim Corbett

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4811638,456 (4.06)11
Jim Corbett was every inch a hero, something like a "sahib" Davy Crockett: expert in the ways of the jungle, fearless in the pursuit of man-eating big cats, and above all a crack shot. Brought up on a hill-station in north-west India, he killed his first leopard before he was nine and went on to achieve a legendary reputation as a hunter. Corbett was also an author of great renown. His books on the man-eating tigers he once tracked are not only established classics, but have by themselves created almost a separate literary genre. Man Eaters of Kumaon is the best known of Corbett's books, one which offers ten fascinating and spine-tingling tales of pursuing and shooting tigers in the Indian Himalayas during the early years of this century. The stories also offer first-hand information about the exotic flora, fauna, and village life in this obscure and treacherous region of India, making it as interesting a travelogue as it is a compelling look at a bygone era of big-game hunting.… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
A fascinating insight into India in the first half of the 20th Century and the necessity to kill Tigers and Leopards which had become man-eaters. Jim Corbett is a sympathetic writer. You can tell that he has a deep affection for the Indian people he interacts with, and he is also a careful hunter. He prefers 'hunting' with his camera and there is some footage from his movie camera on youtube as well as several of his photographs. Corbett was so good at his job that he went to Africa to kill man-eaters for, as he explains, a big cat does not naturally become a man-eater, something has to have happened which forces the big cat to hunt the slow and easily available man rather than the natural prey. For example porcupine quills can end up in a tiger's body, breaking off at the skin and being invisible from the outside, but causing ongoing infection in the inside and pain for the animal. Broken teeth, which mean that the cat can no longer hold onto a big prey such as a buffalo, or even a smaller deer, but the cat can wrap its mouth around a human and carry them off.

Not only does the book explain these facts, but we gain an insight into a man with the stamina to walk for miles a day in the hills of northern India even near the border of Nepal. Whilst he may be driven to the starting point of the hunt, after that, because there are no roads, the work is on foot. Extraordinary clear eyesight, a reputation for rarely missing a shot and tenacity to track the man eater even if it takes 5 years to kill it are some of Corbett's remarkable talents. perhaps he is not so remarkable by the era - he seems to have a Kiplingesque personality - his tales are written in a matter of fact manner, from being called in to track and kill the man-hunter, to the tracking, the kill and then the skinning which needs to be done very quickly virtually in-situ (no word is given of the tiger's flesh where that goes).

Having looked up Jim Corbett, I found there is a Tiger Sanctuary in his name in northern India - this is absolutely fitting that the animal that Corbett so obviously loved and admired and cared about enough to kill when it had turned against its nature - is now protected under his name. ( )
  nadineeg | May 3, 2020 |
Jim Corbett's classic describing the Bengal Tigers of India ( )
  atufft | Jun 14, 2019 |
For me, this is clearly a 'Don't judge a book by it's cover' case, but in the other way around.
A was randomly searching for a book one day and stumbled upon this one. I found the cover quite amazing and the synopsis written in the back felt like a cliff hanger of some sort of adventure book. But boy was I wrong when I read it! Turns out that it is one of those books which are filled with referrence-like informations and fails the reader to grasp or visualize the incidents that were happening, or at least that was how I felt.
Considering when it was originally written, I cannot blame the conservationist. Reading the Hindi terms in English is also a jaw breaking experience. All I can say is that it could have been better.
If this book wasn't the last poly packed piece in the store, then I would have read it a bit and would have thought twice before buying it. ( )
  arnab_fouzder | Feb 21, 2019 |
His team tracked them, he shot them, and then he wrote it up. Leopards are more dangerous than Tigers, who are meaner than Lions. This is a curious by-way of British Indian history. I first encountered this book as a Reader's Digest Condensed Book, and it wears well on the re-read. ( )
  DinadansFriend | Mar 14, 2015 |
better than i thought. ( )
  mahallett | Feb 1, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 15 (next | show all)
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DEDICATED to the GALLANT SOLDIERS, SAILORS, AND AIRMEN of the United Nations, who during this war HAVE LOST THEIR SIGHT in the service of their country
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Jim Corbett was every inch a hero, something like a "sahib" Davy Crockett: expert in the ways of the jungle, fearless in the pursuit of man-eating big cats, and above all a crack shot. Brought up on a hill-station in north-west India, he killed his first leopard before he was nine and went on to achieve a legendary reputation as a hunter. Corbett was also an author of great renown. His books on the man-eating tigers he once tracked are not only established classics, but have by themselves created almost a separate literary genre. Man Eaters of Kumaon is the best known of Corbett's books, one which offers ten fascinating and spine-tingling tales of pursuing and shooting tigers in the Indian Himalayas during the early years of this century. The stories also offer first-hand information about the exotic flora, fauna, and village life in this obscure and treacherous region of India, making it as interesting a travelogue as it is a compelling look at a bygone era of big-game hunting.

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