Read Carnivorous Nights: On the Trail of the Tasmanian Tiger by Margaret Mittelbach Michael Crewdson Alexis Rockman Online


Packing an off-kilter sense of humor and keen scientific minds, Margaret Mittelbach and Michael Crewdson, along with renowned artist Alexis Rockman, take off on a postmodern safari. Their mission? Tracking down the elusive Tasmanian tiger. Tragically, this mysterious, striped predator was hunted into extinction in the early part of the twentieth century. Or was it? JourneyPacking an off-kilter sense of humor and keen scientific minds, Margaret Mittelbach and Michael Crewdson, along with renowned artist Alexis Rockman, take off on a postmodern safari. Their mission? Tracking down the elusive Tasmanian tiger. Tragically, this mysterious, striped predator was hunted into extinction in the early part of the twentieth century. Or was it? Journeying first to the Australian mainland and then south to the wild island of Tasmania, these young naturalists brave a series of bizarre misadventures and uproarious wildlife encounters in their obsessive search for the long-lost beast. Filled with Rockman’s stunning drawings of flora and fauna originally crafted from river mud, wombat scat, and even the artist’s own blood, Carnivorous Nights is a hip and hilarious account of an unhinged safari, as well as a fascinating portrayal of a wildly unique part of the world.Carniverous Nights is:One of the New York Public Library's "25 Books to Remember from 2005"A New York Public Library Books for the Teen Age, 2006 selection...

Title : Carnivorous Nights: On the Trail of the Tasmanian Tiger
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780812967692
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 336 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Carnivorous Nights: On the Trail of the Tasmanian Tiger Reviews

  • RavenclawReadingRoom
    2019-02-23 15:55

    This book is.............odd. Essentially, two Americans decided that they should go to Tasmania to try and find a thylacine, the last living specimen of which died in a zoo in 1936. Their reasons for doing so go largely unmentioned, as do the reasons why they're SO CONVINCED throughout the course of the book that they're definitely going to see an animal that was declared extinct in the 1980s (animals cannot be declared extinct until 50 years after the last confirmed sighting). They also seem to have...not done a huge amount of research prior to starting off on this thylacine search. Like, they're surprised to learn that Tasmania is part of Australia and that English is spoken there. WTF. The entire book is written in the first person plural, which was INCREDIBLY grating for me, particularly when it says things like "we dreamed" and "we stumbled" and "we realised we only had hiking boots with us". Add in the fact that they're accompanied on this journey by a bizarre artist who makes paint out of animal shit and seems to spend about half the book smoking pot, and it was...frustrating. I hope they tipped their rental car company EXTREMELY well, given how they repeatedly talked about Alexis (the artist) filling the car with roadkill and bags of wombat or Tasmania devil scat to use in his art and how bad the car smells. There's one (unfortunately) memorable scene in which he decides he's going to use a leech to make pigment, and "we" take a living leech and mash it into paste using a ballpoint pen(??????), at which point Alexis decides it's not liquidy enough and has "us" stab him in the finger with a sewing needle so he can add his own blood to the "paint". Add in the fact that Tasmania's Indigenous population are repeatedly referred to as "aboriginals" where Australian convention (admittedly, the book was published in the US, but STILL) would dictate using "Tasmanian Aboriginal people" or "Indigenous Tasmanians", and I spent a lot of this book cringing. Basically, this book is the story of some ignorant Americans who thought they'd see in a couple of weeks what nobody's had a confirmed sighting of in almost a hundred years, despite die hard thylacine believers spending decades searching for scat and footprints and living specimens. They travel around Tasmania, interviewing interested parties, most of whom are like "Look, I'd LOVE for someone to find a living thylacine. But all evidence suggests it's not going to happen". And yet they still expect to see a thylacine around every corner. In short, it's almost like going to the Montana badlands and expecting to see a velociraptor because this one time Alan Grant saw a live dinosaur but has literally no proof of it. I'm about 85% sure this one is going to get weeded from our collection at work. I can't imagine it's going to prove helpful to any students researching thylacines. Unless they want to know how to make paint out of wombat shit and leeches...

  • Daniel
    2019-03-11 17:57

    When I started this book I thought I was really going to enjoy it, but then, after reading a bit and mulling on it, I changed my mind. There was one thing I couldn't get my head around, and that was the constant use of the first person plural (at least, I think that's what you call it). The authors, and there were two, would constantly refer to themselves as "we", which I guess is understandable, but it just didn't work. It felt like the queen was writing the damn thing, and it didn't just apply to "we went here", or "we did this", but "we dreamt this" and "we thought this". That doesn't happen. Ever.Everytime this happened the whole book seemed to cave in: the story stopped and the world came back. That's not a good thing to happen in a book. I think the thing that saved Carnivorous Nights: On the Trail of the Tasmanian Tiger for me was the fact that I read it very slowly. I kept going back to i becuase I kept forgetting how annoying it is to hear "we said" et all., and I could cope with it in small chunks because the story, and the message, are really very good.It's a good, fun book, with plenty of facts and anecdotes. There's some fascinating people, sad stories, and a bit of hope (which is always nice!) as well. A good book for people who care about trees and animals and who vote Green. I changed my mind again and did really enjoy it! All I can say is this: read it slowly , and try not to get too bogged down with all the we-ing, you might learn something, and you probably will get a little bit curious about the thylacine - I can't wait to get to Tasmania!

  • Allison
    2019-03-19 18:52

    As an American living in Australia who is interested in the native wildlife, I really enjoyed this book. It was a quirky mix of travelogue, information on Tasmanian fauna and flora, and an American perspective. Though it is packed with good information and has additional reading materials in the back, it is not an indexed authority on any subject. It is more the recording of three Americans traveling to Australia to learn more about the elusive and sadly probably extinct Tasmanian Tiger. As such it contains the flaws of those Americans including frequent drug use by the artist member of the team and unclean language which doesn't bother me, but may bother others. Personally, I don't expect much else from three New Yorkers traveling abroad. The only thing I found particularly annoying in the book is that as it is written by two authors they referred to themselves constantly as "we" which was a style that I didn't really like. Although all the artists comical exploits and views were explored, the authors were strangely impersonal and hid effectively behind "we". The reader does not learn much about the individual authors or their relationship to each other outside their shared Tasmanian experience. I found the book to be fast paced and an easy read. If you are looking for a serious authority on the Tiger or other aspects of Tasmania, this isn't the right book, but it may be light reading next to something more authoritative. I read through some of the negative Amazon reviews and found them to be fairly accurate though the complaints were things that took away from my enjoyment of the book, but if you are considering the book, I would recommend reading through them.

  • Michael Livingston
    2019-03-21 16:32

    A kind of gonzo nature book, with a group of New Yorkers traipsing around Tassie getting high and trying to track down the Tasmanian tiger. It's filled with great characters, fun anecdotes and plenty of fascinating facts. The writing is clear and funny at times, but the collective first person pronoun style of narration ('we almost fell', 'we dreamed about Tassie devils' etc) grated a bit. It's ultimately a sad story, about the ways in which humans destroy the environment - the sections at the end really drive home the point that we've barely learned any lessons from the disasters like the extinction of the thylacine.

  • Jsrott
    2019-03-15 20:37

    An entertaining, if ultimately very depressing book about two biologists and an artist looking for the possibility of the thylacine, or Tasmanian tiger, still existing. Along the way we are treated to a tour of the flora and fauna of Tasmania, and the battle between protecting the native species and the relentless attempts to drain Tasmania of its natural resources. The characters are fun, especially the artist, whose works are found throughout the book. While the hunt doesn't bring up any new evidence, it does put a spotlight on the callous nature of loggers, herders, and generally just about everyone with an eye on profit when it comes to conservation.

  • Smellsofbikes
    2019-03-18 20:40

    Good, very depressing book about a contemporary (fairly low-intensity) search for the Tasmanian Tiger. It discusses a number of other strange Tasmanian animals and spends a fair amount of time on the history of the tiger itself, and on sightings/evidence since 1936.

  • Sphinx Feathers
    2019-03-08 19:58

    Well-described and interesting not only for its facts about the Tasmanian Tiger, but fascinating for its details about other wildlife and facts about Tasmania. This is a great example of what travel literature and nature literature should be.

  • Melody
    2019-03-25 16:41

    Fun and educational. I'd recommend it.(I say educational because although the book is about a hunt for a probably extinct animal, they also spend a lot of time discussing Tasmania's wildlife and ecology - and Tasmania has a lot of wildlife that's strange and rare, even by Australian standards.)

  • Susan Ferguson
    2019-03-24 20:36

    A fun book. The authorial "we" kept throwing me off at first, but I got accustomed to it. It is not, I think, an overly serious book. They are serious in thei search for the Tasmaian Tiger, but there are a lot of odd incidents and quite a few humorous ones thrown in during their search around New Zealand. They also meet some very interesting people who are hunting for the tiger.Well worth reading.

  • Kat
    2019-02-24 16:51

    As soon as I saw the cover of this book, I knew I had to read it - as a native Tasmanian I love reading books that have a familiar setting as they are sadly few and far between. Add the bonus of finding out more about one of Tasmania's icons, the Tasmanian Tiger and I was really looking forward to this.Strangely, the book is written in first person plural - which wouldn't have been so bad but for the references to things that 'we' did such as 'we dreamed' and 'we imagined'. In fact, it's so vague that it's only by doing some research outside the book that I managed to find out who the 'we' actually were. Unfortunately this strange narrative wasn't the only issue I had - the other characters were actually quite wanky - their jokes and attempts at being clever were quite flat, and their idea that they would actually 'rediscover' a species that vanished nearly 80 years ago in a few short weeks was just plain weird Sure, I understand that they wanted to be positive, but it was just a bit too much.What I did enjoy was the investigation into Tasmanian wildlife, the story of the demise of the Tasmanian Tiger and the very Tasmanian people that they met along the way. The author did an excellent job of portraying truthfully the openness and strange habits of the people of Tasmania, without being condescending. The book also contains pictures created by Alexis, which he made with various organic materials he picked up along the way which was an added bonus.Although this book had some faults, and did start to drag a little in the middle, I think what made it for me was the familiarity of the places, the people, and the overall relaxed atmosphere of Tasmania. I think it would also make an interesting read for non-natives - after all, where else in the world would you find an animal with a duck bill, that lives underwater, lays eggs in it's pouch and has poisonous spurs on its hind legs, for which there is no anti-venom?Read more of my reviews at The Aussie Zombie

  • Alger
    2019-02-23 20:48

    A book trying so hard to be loved and fun that it simply annoys. Think of a Golden Retriever puppy with a coke habit. THAT is the tone of this book.For me, the combination of trying-too-hard-to-be-loved writing style, the first/second person narrative voice, their unfortunate need to place themselves at the center of every scene, and the remarkably fractured attention span was simply unreadable even though I was actively excited in the topic of Tasmanian bio-geography. There is something like a 60:40 split in the content of this book, 60% authors observing their own too-cute-new-yorkers-out-of-water selves to 40% superficial observations of the OMG! How Weird is that!!!! Tasmanian environment. Because the idiot authors are above average idiots, the reader is left with a better description of how to buy dope in Sydney than of any native wildlife. I feel this is a serious shortcoming in a book I wanted to read for the Tasmanian Tiger. I hate these authors for being idiots who wasted my time with this book. Special note to the authors: You two are NOT CUTE so please shut up.And their traveling companion, the artist with the dope habit and the magazine quality bikini model girlfriend?, his wispy monochrome watercolor art sucks, he is an ass, and his role in the portions of this book that I didn't skip over could have been performed equally well by a strip of quality wall paper.

  • Conan Tigard
    2019-03-18 19:42

    Before reading this book, I had known about the Tasmanian Devil, but not the Tasmanian Tiger. The Tasmanian Tiger was a dog-like marsupial that could be a long a six feet from nose to tip of tail. His jaw opened 120 degrees and had multiple dark stripes across this back and rear, which is why it was names after the tiger.The artwork in the book by Alexis Rockman is utterly fantastic and adds a dramatic depth to the book. Never having traveled to Tasmania (and how many of us truly have), I had not clue as to what most of the wildlife looks like. Thanks to Alexis and his remarkable way of painting, the reader can fully grasp the splendor of these animals.As for the authors, their witty writing keeps the reader turning pages to see if they will discover a living thylacine. As I was reading, I was both hoping they would find one, and then again I hoped that they wouldn't. I hate to see any animal driven to extinction because of mankind, and I would love to see this animal running around the island again. They would have to find an entire colony of these animals to being them back from the brink of extinction. So, you ask me, "Did they find a thylacine?" Well, I certainly am not going to tell you. You are going to have to pick up a copy of Carnivorous Nights and read it to find out. You won't be disappointed.I rated this book an 8½ out of 10.

  • Amy
    2019-03-02 20:54

    Mostly, I am just happy I am finally done. Yippeee. I read this as a read-aloud to my thylacine-obsessed daughter (9 y.o.) and it took a LONG time. (Even she was mystified by the use of the weird "royal We" thing that the authors' used ALWAYS even when describing THEIR nouns which can't be collective (dreams?))* Anyway - mostly we read it for their journey through New Zealand to find out more about the thylacine - why they disappeared (or not) and the people that are still looking for them. Along the way we learned more about lots of other New Zealand creatures and saw lots of cool artwork by the anti-hero artist that tagged along. *Be aware that it isn't really an appropriate read-aloud for 9 year old. There is a need for lots of discussion (or heavy editing) around various topics, mostly pot-smoking. By the way, authors, I think you should write a children's picture book version with the same illustrations. There is a big need for thylacine books in our nation's libraries!!----------------------B. says she liked it but she wished it was more about thylacines and that they had gotten to see one. (I bet they did too.)

  • Mike
    2019-03-25 14:48

    I love the thylacine and looked forward to reading this book for quite sometime. Although first chapters were pretty exciting and interesting it started to get a bit dull toward the center and downright tedious at the end.I agree with one of the other reviewers. It would have made an excellent long article in the New Yorker or something but it's 20 some chapters wear thin and become pretty formulaic.1) We go to this place to look for the thylacine.2) We meet a colorful character.3) Weird things happen and we end up learning about another animal.It is a great read if you're looking for a fun way to get an overview of the flora and fauna of Tasmania, which I enjoyed but i was ultimately disappointed.Also, it was written by two authors and the chose to constantly say "we" which took some getting used to in the early pages.

  • Charles
    2019-03-02 19:36

    Altogether a fun and informative romp through Tasmania and mainland Australia in search of the extinct and quasi-mythical thylacine. As other reviewers have noted, however, the narrative voice is rather irksome, and gives the impression that the two authors speak, think and live as a single unit. You begin to wonder if they ever take a break from each other. Also, Alexis Rockman, while a talented artist, is utterly insufferable as a human being. If ever there was a man high on himself, he would be it.These annoyances aside, the book offers wonderful background on the conservation issues facing even a decidedly "Western" country like Australia. The loss of the thylacine is a tragic and sobering near-parable (it actually did happen) that should help us reflect on human greed and ignorance and, hopefully, lead us to change.

  • Heather
    2019-03-23 18:32

    After becoming fascinated by the Tasmanian tiger, a creature presumed to be extinct, the authors and their artist friend head out on an expedition to try to find evidence of the continued existence of the tiger. Interviewing a host of eccentric figures and passionate environmentalists, the story of the tiger is ultimately tragic but still filled with hope. More than anything it turns an eye to the continued threat that much of Tasmania and areas like it face. It's a story of how destructive humans can be, but also how fascinating and resilient many of those species that are threatened are. With a wild cast of characters, the book is ultimately a wild ride into the unique world of Tasmania.

  • Elizabeth
    2019-03-06 19:54

    First, this book has a supremely awesome title. The story almost lives up to it. I appreciated the quirky humor and earnestness of the authors' obsession with the Tasmanian tigers. I run across a lot of nature kooks in Galapagos, so found it refreshing that the authors were able to express a love of wildlife and concern about extinction without heavy-handed moralizing. Also, the watercolors that illustrate this book are amazing for the simplicity through which they capture movement. That said, the co-authors' joint voice drove me nuts. As others have pointed out, it was not successful and it's hard to understand what point it serves.

  • Victoria
    2019-02-25 18:39

    This book was pretty interesting - it had some REALLY gross parts (like land leeches!!). The cloning part was very reminiscent of what was discussed in Richard Stone's Mammoth: The Resurrection Of An Ice Age Giant. All in all, this was a very fun and educational read. Although, it certainly didn't make me want to vacation in Tasmania. It was a little disheartening to learn about the path to the Tasmanian Tiger's extinction... but it was still a fun and fascinating read!

  • Elizabeth Desole
    2019-03-19 21:44

    In the first few chapters I thought this will be a 5 star for sure. I loved the humor, the interesting factual information and the narrative pacing. After a while, I must admit that the cutesy humor began to wear on me-especially the things the artist said. Also somewhat annoying was that the co-authors wrote as one voice. "Last night we had a dream..." Really, you two had the same dream? Overall though, I really enjoyed it and learned a bunch about Tasmanian wildlife. Now I'm itching to read about the wildlife in my own backyard (they live in Brooklyn and have a local nature book)

  • Cindywho
    2019-03-07 16:39

    I enjoyed this one despite the narrative choice of using the second person plural. It made the authors sound like conjoined twins - or was it the royal "we"? - it was a consistent irritant throughout the book. Luckily the trek around Tasmania was interesting as an introduction to some of the nifty places and critters of that island. We've planned it as part of our trip to Oz next month (me and my conjoined twin) and I made notes and got ideas on where to go when we get there. Wombats - Old growth forest - Quolls - The Nut - Here I come!

  • Lump
    2019-03-11 18:47

    I have to admit it was pretty interesting from start to finish, but content-wise there isn't really much to this book. It comes off as something written as an assignment by someone who didn't take the class all too seriously. Well written as far as the use of the English language goes, and like I said I actually enjoyed it more or less, but I never really thought to myself "this was really worth the read."

  • Emily
    2019-03-14 16:39

    I'm 3/4 of the way through and thought this was a lot of fun to read while on my recent camping trip. It is a search for a (thought to be extinct) creature and gives a lot of history about Australia, Tasmania, and the animals of that region with a funny writing style. Only complaint is that I didn't much like some of the 'characters' and the ever present pot smoking didn't do much to add to the book (for me.)

  • Karen
    2019-02-22 13:47

    Just finished this as we reached Australia. A wonderful account of a party traveling to Australia to determine if the Tasmanian Tiger is truly extinct. I really learned alot about Australia from this book and it has made my trip that much better. A must for anyone interested in Australia or planning a trip.

  • Nathan
    2019-03-24 14:59

    The right ingredients are there, but they're boiled down into an unappetizing sludge. The characters have boring personalities, and their jokes were boring and their trip was boring and the boring secret of their boring trip is that they never get up close to the Tasmanian tiger. A bit of Steve Irwin-style schtick lightens the slog, but not much. Clumsy and insipid.

  • Betony
    2019-02-22 19:39

    I don't know where I heard about this book, but it was on a little scrap of paper to read and I finally did. I thought it was really interesting and entertaining. Each chapter started a little adventure into a different part or inhabitant of Tasmania. I would definitely have given it an extra star if it hadn't had, in my opinion, unnecessary bad language.

  • Amaroq de Quebrazas
    2019-03-12 18:49

    The travel books of travel books for an up-close zany adventure through the wilds of the Tasmanian island bush where a band of odd human travelers meet animals face-t-face in their overall search for the elusive, thought by some to be extinct, Tasmanian Tiger--some call it the Tasmanian Marsupial Wolf.

  • Claudia Piña
    2019-03-04 14:46

    Creí que me iba a gustar más.Es entretenido, las anécdotas y la información sobre el viaje son interesantes e incluso da espacio para reflexionar un poco sobre nuestro papel en el planeta, pero francamente el tono me pareció algo molesto, el punto de vista muy cerrado y el libro en general poco organizado.

  • Blythe
    2019-03-25 14:55

    Another book that should have been a long article. The subject matter is great, fresh and interesting (for being an extinct animal and all...), but all of the anecdotal meetings with people could have been summarized into interesting facts about the tiger instead of whole narrative chapters. To paraphrase my Uncle Rich paraphrasing Homer, BOOOO-RIIIING.

  • Jenny Gendel
    2019-03-17 14:41

    Really got into it, but wished the authors hadn't used we for everything, either attributed it to one author or the other. I would have liked more of both of thier individual personalities. I did REALLY enjoy Alexis' artwork throughout the book. It beautiful, and I hope to see his work in person some day.

  • Nitin
    2019-03-18 15:50

    A nice book, with some excellent anecdotes and information which I can use for an upcoming trip to Australia - however, the authors' use of the royal pronoun "we" - sample: "we dreamed about..." is decidedly eccentric, at its best, and off-putting at its worst.