Land of the Tiger:
A Natural History of the Indian Subcontinent

Valmik Thapar

University of California Press 1998
A book review by Danny Yee © 1998
The companion volume to a television series, Land of the Tiger is a photographic tour of the wildlife and scenery of the Indian subcontinent. Chapters cover the high mountains (the Hindu Kush and the Himalayas), the Ganges (the Ganges basin, the Sundarbans), the oceans and islands (the Nicobar and Andaman Islands, the east and west coasts), the deserts (the Thar Desert and the Rann), the wet forests (the Western Ghats, Sri Lanka, and northeastern India), and central India (Madhya Pradesh).

As one expects in such a work, there is little scientific depth, with interesting and unusual features likely to be of immediate interest singled out for attention instead. The focus is on the larger animals, on the birds, reptiles, and above all the mammals, foremost among them the tiger. There is, however, some discussion of general environments (with wonderful landscape photography, including some sumptuous double-page panoramas) and of conservation issues, most notably of the ways in which Indian religious beliefs have helped to protect some species and habitats. Land of the Tiger also includes some elements of travel narrative, with quotations from Thapar's own diaries and from other travelers.

Land of the Tiger will be a pleasure for anyone who enjoys nature photography and natural history.

April 1998

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%T Land of the Tiger
%S A Natural History of the Indian Subcontinent
%A Thapar, Valmik
%I University of California Press
%D 1998
%O hardcover, colour photographs
%G ISBN 0520214706
%P 288pp