I received Man-Eaters of Kumaon by Jim Corbett as a review copy from Rupa Publications and would like to thank Rizwan Khan for the book. The book has an introduction by Ruskin Bond and is a collection of Jim Corbett’s hunting experiences.
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.
The author has presented the tiger as an animal which does not prefer to eat humans and eats them only when it accidentally discovers that the humans are edible. He has given instances of a few tigers and how they came to become maneaters.
The author has made the hunting episodes look quite interesting. He has used simple language to describe his experiences. I loved the book immensely and enjoyed reading every word of it. There were parts in the book that kept my hair on end.
He has described the nature beautifully. He has mentioned the various difficulties that he had to undergo during his hunting expeditions. His knowledge of nature and his oneness with nature comes to light in the episodes narrated. The author has given detailed descriptions of the jungle and ravines that he went to. In each story he has made an effort to describe what lead him to the scene to shoot the tiger and also how he eventually did it. Though the font size is small, still the book was a quick read, I feel because of my inability to put the book down as I wanted to know what would happen next. The author has also expressed his regret when the animal he chose to put down was not a maneater. The descriptions of the victims really moved me and I just could not have any pity for the tigers then and I felt for the villagers and the family of the victims.
A highly recommended book for all ages with a word of caution, some descriptions are not for the weak hearted.
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of the book from the publisher in return for my honest review. I have NOT received any monetary compensation for the same.