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Carnivorous Nights
On the Trail of the Tasmanian Tiger
by Margaret Mittelbach & Michael Crewdson
Artwork by Alexis Rockman

Villard Books, USA
Text Publishing, Australia
Canongate, UK


A note from the authors:
When we first stumbled across a stuffed Tasmanian tiger at the American Museum of Natural History, we were spellbound. This killer, carnivorous marsupial was one of the most extraordinary creatures on the planet. But it hadn't been seen since the 1930s, and most scientists considered it extinct. Undaunted we headed for the island of Tasmania in search of this elusive beast. Journeying through the island's intoxicating landscapes, we encountered an array of odd characters: screaming Tasmanian devils, fervent tiger hunters, trickster botanists, and scientists trying to resurrect the tiger through cloning. The result of our travels is Carnivorous Nights, the story of a safari gone slightly unhinged.

-----

Reviews of Carnivorous Nights:

"A transfusion of youthful energy is delivered in this winning book by a pair of zany New York wildlife journalists ... [Carnivorous Nights] has a magical quality ... Ms. Mittelbach and Mr. Crewdson have written both an engrossing study of Darwinian natural selection and a gentle fairy tale."
-- The New York Times

"The quixotic quest at the heart of Carnivorious Nights is more than just endearing and engrossing, it's inspiring."
-- Jonathan Safran Foer, author of Everything Is Illuminated and Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

"An adventure in extreme sleuthing ... the true beauty of this volume is its depiction of the Tasmanian landscape in the raw. Kudos are due the authors for the generous pace of their gaze."
-- Los Angeles Times

" ... informed, colorful, often comical ... hugely readable "
-- San Francisco Chronicle

" ... a wonderful romp, part science and part Bill Bryson."
-- Booklist

"... beautifully observed, excitingly reported, [and] laugh-out-loud funny... This book will surely become a classic of wildlife adventure and travel writing."
-- Marie Winn, author of Red-Tails in Love: A Wildlife Drama in Central Park

" ... a thrilling adventure [and] ... an irresistible work of armchair travel, not to be missed. Highly recommended."
-- Library Journal (starred review)

"A top-drawer journey into the natural history of Tasmania from two Brooklyn-based nature writers....Neatly and wonderfully sews together natural science and travel yarn."
-- Kirkus Review (starred review)

" ... a rollicking safari ... informative [and] entertaining"
-- Portland Oregonian

"at once a detailed nature guide and a humorous and engaging adventure story."
-- Science News

"Alexis Rockman and the thylacine are two of the most fascinating critters that have ever prowled the woods of Tasmania or the galleries and basketball courts of New York. Put them together, and you're off on a roaring adventure."
-- David Quammen, author of The Song of the Dodo and Monsters of God

Reviews from Australia:

"IT'S ALL IN THE THRILL OF THE CHASE:
[Carnivorous Nights] is a tonic ... sage, inquisitive, funny, and responsible. ... The narrative unfolds evocatively and persuasively, becoming a restrained but impassioned call for the protection of this imperiled kingdom."
-- Sydney Morning Herald

"Reading Carnivorous Nights, you do not have to be a gundog to detect a pungent scent of Mark Twain ... humor and natural history are seamlessly blended ... this is a winner."
-- Adelaide Review

"... a bloody good yarn"
-- West Australian

"A comedy with a kick, an adventure story with a twist ... Carnivorous Nights offers an exploration of the tiger which is part-study, part-celebration and altogether fun."
-- Canberra Times

"Imagine Jack Kerouac sharing the road with David Attenborough and Cosmo Kramer and you have some idea of the treat that lies ahead for the reader."
-- Courier Mail

"... brilliant writing about animals ... accomplished and persistent"
-- Weekend Australian

"Like the tiger itself, Carnivorous Nights is an unusual assemblage. ... frequently irreverent [and] unorthodox"
-- The Age

"Margaret Mittelbach and Michael Crewdson ... prove something which might have been thought as impossible as the [Tasmanian tiger] itself, that there is such a thing as comic erudition. (Blend David Attenborough and Bill Bryson, add originality to taste.)"
-- Adelaide Advertiser

"... an enjoyable, sometimes funny, and broadly entertaining book."
-- Hobart Mercury

"CARNIVOROUS DELIGHT: ... excellent ... a smorgasbord of fascinating facts about Tasmanian wildlife"
-- Sunday Tasmanian

"Carnivorous Nights turns an impressively accurate outsiders' eye on Australia's most mysterious state ... A book for anyone who's been to Tasmania, or would like to go."
-- Herald Sun

"[Rockman's] beautiful pictures of flora and fauna [are] as organic, fragile and fraught as the Tasmanian ark itself."
-- The Bulletin

"From muttonbird nests to the call of the kookaburra, from conversations with Aboriginal people to platypus sightings, this is a wonderful Australian adventure told with a great sense of humour."
-- Australian Geographic

"... a delightful safari."
-- Launceston Examiner

"The Devil's Isle will never be the same again. This is taxidermy's greatest tough-love story."
-- Tim Flannery, author of Throwim Way Leg, A Gap in Nature, The Future Eaters, and The Weather Makers

"Carnivorous Nights is Jerry Seinfeld meets David Attenborough in the wilds of Tasmania ... hilarious and scientifically spot on."
-- James Woodford, author of The Dog Fence and The Secret Life of Wombats

"This is the Tasmania I love and know, and love fighting for. An insightful, hilarious showcase of my island state."
-- Bob Brown, Senator from Tasmania

Reviews from the UK:

"... this hip, passionate, funny book leaves you burning for a tiger in the night"
-- Daily Telegraph

"... a magical mystery field trip through a Land-That-Time-Forgot ... Their wild, witty, wisecracking search puts a smile on the face of the elusive tiger"
-- The Times

"... colourful ... mock-heroic ... quixotic ... They capture the essence of the beast"
-- Independent on Sunday

"... this rollicking yarn ... is really about extinction, ecological despair, an increasingly brutalised environment, and conservationists with their backs to the wall. ... wistfully haunting."
-- The Guardian

"... an excellent book that is part travel writing, part natural history and part environmental activism, with a tendency towards the poetic rather than the preachy. It is enlivened with humour and embellished with Rockman's strong and elegant illustrations. Four stars"
-- The Herald

"In its lightness of tone, Carnivorous Nights has an easy irreverence and is a spiky, enjoyable and slightly sad romp through one of the world's most interesting wild landscapes."
-- The Metro

"... a compelling account of a Tolkien-esque landscape... it's hard not to get sucked into the team's optimism, becoming more hopeful as tales of sightings amass. Crucially, you're made to care for the tiger and regret its extinction."
-- TNT Magazine


News . . .

The 5th-annual Carnivorous Nights taxidermy contest, is taking place on Tuesday, December 7, 2010. Click here, to see photos of last year's winners!

Tasmanian devils face a serious extinction threat. Learn more and find out how to help.


From the Archives ...

Read Mittelbach and Crewdson's op-ed about human-caused extinctions in the Washington Post.

The literary lions have roared! Carnivorous Nights has been named by the New York Public Library as one of the 25 Best Books of the Year. See Books to Remember.

Hear the authors interviewed about the search for the Tasmanian tiger on the Leonard Lopate Show.

See photos and results from the third-annual Carnivorous Nights taxidermy contest, hosted by the Union Hall Secret Science Club. Check out the rules. And peek at beastly photos from the original contest.

A Very Carnivorous Night and Taxidermy Contest 2006
(and Great Autumnal Taxidermy Get-together!)
at Union Hall in Brooklyn
was WILD! Thanks to the Minnesota Association of Rogue Taxidermists (MART) for making the 2006 contest a huge success. Click to see the artistry of Rob Marbury, Scott Bibus, Serena Brewer, and Takeshi Yamada.

See the winners of our Beastly Haiku Contest! Congrats to grand-prize winner Carl Mehling of the American Museum of Natural History. And thanks to Adam Yauch of the Beastie Boys for his contest-launching haiku about Sasquatch. Boof! Thanks also to Loren Coleman of Cryptomundo for helping to promote this haiku free-for-all.

Carnivorous Nights is out from Villard USA in an all-new paperback edition

Read the complete Carnivorous review in The New York Times

Margaret bares all... Carnivorous Nights is unveiled on National Public Radio's "Living on Earth"

Straight from Tasmania! Michael is featured on ABC Hobart's Morning Drive

Read Margaret and Michael's "guest author" posts at Powell's book blog.

Check out the Carnivorous review in the June issue of Bookslut, the "webzine dedicated to those who love to read"

The New York Public Library features Carnivorous Nights in "Books for the Teen Age 2006," a list of titles recommended for young adult readers. Learn more at Teen Link

Carnivorous book designer Simon M. Sullivan and cover designer Chong Weng Ho receive a commendation in the category of "Best Designed Nonfiction Book" at the Australian Book Design Awards 2006.

Missed our soiree? See the photos from "A Very Carnivorous Night and Taxidermy Contest 2005"

Cryptomundo names
Carnivorous Nights "Best
Cryptozoological Expedition Book" of the year

Carnivorous Nights hits the UK. Read Helen Brown's review in the Daily Telegraph

Listen to an interview with the authors and artist on
WFMU's "The Speakeasy," hosted by Dorian Devins